African societies in the post-colonial era have been troubled by various trials and tribulations, prompting distinguished writers to focus on the tragic consequences of the colonial heritage. Meanwhile, there are quite a few writers whose comic visions and perspectives may remind us that you can only cry so long before you need to laugh. In this course we will read and discuss texts by Cameroonian and Congolese writers with a genius for finding the comic potential in seriously problematic situations. Topics we will discuss include humor, irony, satire, the comic imagination, colonial and post-colonial contexts, psychological colonization, immigration, deceptive appearances, the role of the unreliable narrators, the relationship between gender and comedy, the politically subversive potential of comedy, and comic traditions in literary history.
GROUP LEADER: Dr. Lillian Corti obtained a doctorate in Comparative Literature from the City University of New York. She taught at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma; at Marien Ngouabi University, Brazzaville; and at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Her translation of the Congolese novel, Le Feu des Origines by Emmanuel Dongola was published by Lawrence Hill Books in 2001. She has published various articles on African literature.
REQUIRED BOOKS: Beti, Mongo, Mission to Kala. Mallory Classic African Writing, ISBN 10-1856571092. Dongala, Emmanuel, Jazz and Palm Wine, University of Indiana Press, ISBN 10-0253026695. Mabanckou, Alain, Blue White Red-A Novel, University of Indiana Press, ISBN 10-0253007919.
OPTIONAL BOOKS: Achebe, Chinua, Things Fall Apart. Thiongo, Ngugi wa, The River Between. Oyono, Ferdinand, Houseboy.