Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Zugzwang
    Joined
    08 Jun '07
    Moves
    2120
    17 Feb '21 16:351 edit
    @kevcvs57 said
    Note duchess keeps hurling her fantasy of white fragility at me rather than engage in a reasonable and rational debate about how we can widen the cultural horizons of students of all ethnicities by being inclusive rather than exclusive. Literature is one of the better ways to demonstrate the common humanity of all races but only if the curriculum casts its net as wide as possible.
    Note that, as usual, Kevcvs57 keeps hurling insults or lies.
    How many times do I have to keep reiterating this quotation?

    "Strikes me as something more than that, it’s almost as if he [Shakespeare] must be eradicated
    from the school libraries and cultural memory simply because he is a white voice."
    --Kevcvs57

    Note Kevcvs's hysterical comment about 'eradicating' Shakespeare simply because he's white.
    That's hysteria typically from people with extreme white fragility.

    So Kevcvs57 apparently wishes to keep spewing racist nonsense without being
    identified as a racist or even as racially 'fragile'.

    I regard Kevcvs57 as hardly more capable of rational 'discussion' than Earl of Trumps.
  2. Zugzwang
    Joined
    08 Jun '07
    Moves
    2120
    17 Feb '21 16:512 edits
    @teinosuke said
    I have. I have read Things Fall Apart, his seminal novel, one of the most important works of African literature. I have also read his critique of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, which these days is frequently assigned to students reading Conrad's challenging and equivocal novel.
    The late Chinua Achebe is one of the most famous African writers.
    He criticized _Heart of Darkness_ as a deeply racist text (for which he would be
    hated by many white writers here if they knew that he had done that).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Image_of_Africa

    ""An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness" is the published and
    amended version of the second Chancellor's Lecture given by Chinua Achebe at
    the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in February 1975. The essay was included
    in his 1988 collection, Hopes and Impediments. The text is considered to be part
    of the postcolonial critical movement, which advocates to Europeans the
    consideration of the viewpoints of non-European nations, as well as peoples
    coping with the effects of colonialism.

    In "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness", Achebe accuses
    Joseph Conrad of being "a thoroughgoing racist" for depicting Africa as "the other world"."

    It's interesting to compare that with Edward Said's criticisms of Joseph Conrad.
    Edward Said was a Palestinian and US citizen and a critic of Western 'Orientalism'.

    Most of the narrow-minded (and usually racist) white people who dominate this
    deeply racist forum would never have heard of Chinua Achebe or even Edward Said.
  3. Subscribershavixmir
    Guppy poo
    Sewers of Holland
    Joined
    31 Jan '04
    Moves
    69785
    17 Feb '21 17:07
    @duchess64 said
    Ponderable replied to Shavixmir.

    Shavixmir apparently never had heard of Chinua Achebe and projected his ignorance upon everyone else.
    The father of African literature.
    Not bloody difficult, I’m surprised they have letters over there at all.

    I mean, with all the cannibalism, inbreeding with monkeys and whining about Belgium (or whatever great and impressive European state owned Nigeria before it fell to religious infighting and circumcision), I’m surprised they have any time at all to read. Never mind write.

    In fact, only the Chinese are more retarded in their mental growth than Nigerians.
    Do the Chinese write? I mean, they can’t even use cutlery. How the hell are they going to use typewriters?

    Say what you want about Nigerians, at least they have large cocks compared to Chinese people.

    There you go Dutchess. And not a tad of sarcasm or irony in sight!
  4. Zugzwang
    Joined
    08 Jun '07
    Moves
    2120
    17 Feb '21 17:473 edits
    @shavixmir said
    The father of African literature.
    Not bloody difficult, I’m surprised they have letters over there at all.

    I mean, with all the cannibalism, inbreeding with monkeys and whining about Belgium (or whatever great and impressive European state owned Nigeria before it fell to religious infighting and circumcision), I’m surprised they have any time at all to read. Never mind ...[text shortened]... ks compared to Chinese people.

    There you go Dutchess. And not a tad of sarcasm or irony in sight!
    It seems questionable (at least) that Chinua Achebe has been more acclaimed than Wole Soyinka,
    who became the first sub-Saharan African to win a Nobel Prize in literature.
    Albert Camus (a white Frenchman), who was born in Algeria, won a Nobel Prize earlier.

    Chinua Achebe wrote in English, not in his African mother tongue.
    He spent many years of his life outside his native Nigeria, dying in the USA.
    As an Igbo supporters of Biafran independence, he was at odds with Nigeria's government

    "When the region of Biafra broke away from Nigeria in 1967, Achebe became a supporter
    of Biafran independence and acted as ambassador for the people of the new nation.[citation needed]
    The civil war that took place over the territory, commonly known as the Nigerian
    Civil War, ravaged the populace, and as starvation and violence took its toll, he
    appealed to the people of Europe and the Americas for aid."
    --Wikipedia

    While it's fair to regard Chinua Achebe as an African writer, who wrote on African themes,
    he did not write in an African language and spent much of his adult life outside Africa.

    Western literary critics have acclaimed some African writers, but usually those who write in Western languages.
    With regard to the Nobel Prize in literature, it depends upon the Swedish Academy
    having anyone qualified to read a candidate writer's language. Until fairly recently,
    no one who wrote in Chinese was eligible for the Nobel Prize because the Swedish Academy
    lacked anyone who was qualified to read Chinese. Likewise, I suspect that it does
    not have anyone qualified to read native African languages (Kiswahili, perhaps?).
  5. Zugzwang
    Joined
    08 Jun '07
    Moves
    2120
    17 Feb '21 19:00
    @shavixmir said
    Nobody has ever heard of Chinua Achebe.
    Let's do a survey of random people in the UK or the USA.
    "Have you heard of Chinua Achebe and do you know what he was known for doing?"

    I expect that only a small minority of people (likely a minority of black people too)
    in the UK or USA would know that Chinua Achebe was an African / Nigerian / Igbo writer in English.
  6. Subscribershavixmir
    Guppy poo
    Sewers of Holland
    Joined
    31 Jan '04
    Moves
    69785
    17 Feb '21 19:30
    @duchess64 said
    Let's do a survey of random people in the UK or the USA.
    "Have you heard of Chinua Achebe and do you know what he was known for doing?"

    I expect that only a small minority of people (likely a minority of black people too)
    in the UK or USA would know that Chinua Achebe was an African / Nigerian / Igbo writer in English.
    Why should UK and USA people have heard of him?

    I’m sure there are brilliant writers in the UK and USA they’ve never heard of either.

    Until the film or TV series, most people wouldn’t have heard of Philip Pullman either.
    Or Anthony Burgess.

    How many Africans know Joseph Heller, do you think? Or Gabriel García Márquez? Or Graham Greene or Umberto Eco?

    Seems to me you’re trying to make a point which is not really there to make.
  7. Joined
    13 Mar '07
    Moves
    39201
    17 Feb '21 21:091 edit
    @duchess64 said
    Chinua Achebe wrote in English, not in his African mother tongue.

    Achebe was conscious of this problem, and reflected carefully on his choice of language:

    "For an African writing in English is not without its serious setbacks. He often finds himself describing situations or modes of thought which have no direct equivalent in the English way of life. Caught in that situation he can do one of two things. He can try and contain what he wants to say within the limits of conventional English or he can try to push back those limits to accommodate his ideas ... I submit that those who can do the work of extending the frontiers of English so as to accommodate African thought-patterns must do it through their mastery of English and not out of innocence."

    However, one reason he chose to write in English was that, precisely, he did not want his audience to be restricted to Igbo speakers. He wanted to write for Nigerians in general, and because Nigeria was a British colony, English was a language that was used across the country. It had become, he said, "a language with which to talk to one another", and in order to secure a readership across Nigeria, he wrote in "the one central language enjoying nationwide currency".

    Writing before Nigerian independence, Achebe also wanted his critique of colonialism to be read by citizens of the colonial power, Britain. Moreover, Achebe's native Igbo did not have a standardised literary form until 1972.

    It seems questionable (at least) that Chinua Achebe has been more acclaimed than Wole Soyinka, who became the first sub-Saharan African to win a Nobel Prize in literature.

    Maybe so... but then, Ivan Bunin won the Nobel Prize where Tolstoy and Chekhov did not; Bjørnson won the Nobel Prize where Ibsen did not; Kipling won the Nobel Prize where Thomas Hardy did not, etc, etc. The Nobel Prize is a rather inadequate measure of acclaim!
  8. Joined
    13 Feb '21
    Moves
    659
    17 Feb '21 21:21
    Well they did give one to Obama for no reason so I guess you're right.

    Obama's comment: "for what?"
  9. Zugzwang
    Joined
    08 Jun '07
    Moves
    2120
    17 Feb '21 21:583 edits
    @teinosuke said
    Chinua Achebe wrote in English, not in his African mother tongue.

    Achebe was conscious of this problem, and reflected carefully on his choice of language:

    "For an African writing in English is not without its serious setbacks. He often finds himself describing situations or modes of thought which have no direct equivalent in the English way of life. Caught in t ...[text shortened]... ize where Thomas Hardy did not, etc, etc. The Nobel Prize is a rather inadequate measure of acclaim!
    The Nobel Prize for literature has long been very Eurocentric.
    White men tend to find it easier to give awards to other white men.

    "The prize's focus on European men, and Swedes in particular, has been the subject
    of criticism, even from Swedish newspapers.[82] The majority of laureates have
    been European, with Sweden itself receiving more prizes (8) than all of Asia
    (7, if Turkish Orhan Pamuk is included), as well as all of Latin America (7, if Saint
    Lucian Derek Walcott is included). In 2009, Horace Engdahl, then the permanent
    secretary of the Academy, declared that "Europe still is the centre of the literary
    world" and that "the US is too isolated, too insular ..."
    --Wikipedia

    Chekhov and Tolstoy died not long after the Nobel Prize for literature came into existence.
    Boris Pasternak was the first Russian still in Russia (or the USSR) to win a Nobel Prize in literature.

    Some awards for Chinua Achebe:
    St. Louis Literary Award 1999
    The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize 2010 (mostly given to non-writers)

    Some literary awards for Wole Soyinka:
    Nobel Prize in Literature 1986
    Benson Medal from Royal Society of Literature 1990
    Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, Lifetime Achievement 2012
  10. Joined
    13 Mar '07
    Moves
    39201
    17 Feb '21 22:12
    @kevcvs57 said
    “ I have also read his critique of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, which these days is frequently assigned to students reading Conrad's challenging and equivocal novel.”
    That’s exactly how it should be done. I haven’t read any Chinua Achebe but I shall endeavour to do so.
    Achebe's essay condemned Conrad as "a bloody racist". Yet when he was asked later about his perspective, he said that he did not want people to stop reading Heart of Darkness: "It's not in my nature to talk about banning books. I am saying, read it – with the kind of understanding and with the knowledge I talk about. And read it beside African works."

    There has been much critical debate about Conrad's attitude to Western colonialism as well as his racial attitudes. Some have argued that the bleak portrayal of Africa in Heart of Darkness is in part animated by prejudice against native Africans; others have asserted that it is in fact a harsh critique of European imperialism.

    It's also been pointed out that as a Pole, Conrad was himself a native of a country that had fallen under imperial rule, and that his sympathies might be expected to be the victims of colonialism. I recently read the early novel that we must now perhaps learn to call "The BAME of the Narcissus" (certainly, I can't spell out its real title here!); and I was struck by the fact that the crew is full of people from then colonised territories - a Finn, two Norwegians, a Welshman, and an Irishman, as well as the Jamaican who features in the book's title.

    Personally, I think the outlook of Heart of Darkness is somewhere in the middle. It's set in the notorious Congo Free State, which operated under the personal control of Belgian King Leopold, and whose brutalities shocked the consciences even of Europeans who were generally in favour of colonialism. So I read Conrad's novella as a book which condemns Belgian colonialism while cautiously championing the British variety. When Conrad's narrator looks at a map (the British Empire was at the time usually coloured in red or pink on maps) he comments:

    "There was a vast amount of red—good to see at any time, because one knows that some real work is done in there, a deuce of a lot of blue, a little green, smears of orange, and, on the East Coast, a purple patch, to show where the jolly pioneers of progress drink the jolly lager-beer. However, I wasn’t going into any of these. I was going into the yellow. Dead in the centre."
  11. Zugzwang
    Joined
    08 Jun '07
    Moves
    2120
    17 Feb '21 22:28
    @teinosuke said
    Achebe's essay condemned Conrad as "a bloody racist". Yet when he was asked later about his perspective, he said that he did not want people to stop reading Heart of Darkness: "It's not in my nature to talk about banning books. I am saying, read it – with the kind of understanding and with the knowledge I talk about. And read it beside African works."

    There has been much ...[text shortened]... r-beer. However, I wasn’t going into any of these. I was going into the yellow. Dead in the centre."
    As I recall, some schools have banned _Huckleberry Finn_ because it has the 'N-word' many times.
    Given the historical context, of course, frequent usage of the 'N-word' was completely understandable.

    But many school authorities worry about fragile students who lack the maturity to
    understand that historical context and, more importantly, about aggrieved parents
    who may file lawsuits against the school.

    In reality, British imperialism was not nearly as benign as most Brits today like to believe.

    Returning to the subject of Shakespeare, he wrote for audiences of adults, not children.
    I question the wisdom of introducing Shakespeare to immature readers.
    Should one sanitize 'Romeo and Juliet' so as to obscure the reality of teenage suicide?
  12. Zugzwang
    Joined
    08 Jun '07
    Moves
    2120
    17 Feb '21 22:34
    @teinosuke said
    Achebe's essay condemned Conrad as "a bloody racist". Yet when he was asked later about his perspective, he said that he did not want people to stop reading Heart of Darkness: "It's not in my nature to talk about banning books. I am saying, read it – with the kind of understanding and with the knowledge I talk about. And read it beside African works."

    There has been much ...[text shortened]... r-beer. However, I wasn’t going into any of these. I was going into the yellow. Dead in the centre."
    "It's also been pointed out that as a Pole, Conrad was himself a native of a country that had
    fallen under imperial rule, and that his sympathies might be expected to be the victims of colonialism."
    --Teinsouke

    It depends. Some Polish soldiers in French service decided to fight with black Haitians
    against the French in a savage racial war. After Haiti became independent, these
    Poles were the only white people allowed to remain in Haiti, with the possible
    exceptions of a few white Frenchwomen who agreed to marry black Haitian men.

    Some Polish conscripts in the Imperial Russian Army deserted and joined Shamyl's forces fighting Russia.
    Shamyl (an Imam) tolerated the Poles' Catholicism more than the Russian Tsar had.

    But many Polish soldiers fought elsewhere in the service of French imperialism.
    Likewise, Irish soldiers were important in the expansion of the British Empire.
  13. Joined
    13 Mar '07
    Moves
    39201
    17 Feb '21 22:354 edits
    @duchess64 said
    Chekhov and Tolstoy died not long after the Nobel Prize for literature came into existence.
    Boris Pasternak was the first Russian still in Russia (or the USSR) to win a Nobel Prize in literature.
    Tolstoy died late in 1910; the Nobel Prize was first awarded in 1901; thus Tolstoy was eligible for ten years, and indeed, was nominated nine times in succession. He was turned down in 1901 when Carl David af Wirsén (permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy until 1912) condemned him for his "narrow-minded hostility to all forms of civilization." Subsequent nominations were also vetoed, apparently because Tolstoy's work was full of "detestable opinions on art, government, and civilisation."

    Underlying this, no doubt, was a more general Swedish antipathy towards the Russians, who had been historic enemies of the Swedes. So the first Russian to receive the prize was an exile who lived and worked in France (as well as a fervent anti-Communist). After Ivan Bunin won the award in 1933, Anders Österling (who was to become the longest serving member of the Swedish Academy in history), explained that it was "to pay off our bad consciences on Chekhov and Tolstoy."
  14. Zugzwang
    Joined
    08 Jun '07
    Moves
    2120
    17 Feb '21 22:441 edit
    @teinosuke said
    Tolstoy died late in 1910; the Nobel Prize was first awarded in 1901; thus Tolstoy was eligible for ten years, and indeed, was nominated nine times in succession. He was turned down in 1901 when Carl David af Wirsén (permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy until 1912) condemned him for his "narrow-minded hostility to all forms of civilization." Subsequent nominations wer ...[text shortened]... ry, Anders Österling, explained that it was "to pay off our bad consciences on Chekhov and Tolstoy."
    The Swedish Academy chose Rudyard Kipling (a colourful writer, for sure) ahead of Tolstoy.

    Sweden and Russia have a history of wars. During the First World War, neutral
    Sweden was anti-Russian and pro-German in sympathy. During the Second World War,
    Sweden supported Finland against the USSR and quietly cooperated with Germany.
    Sweden allowed German soldiers (in civilian clothes, posing as tourists) to use the
    Swedish railway system to travel safely to postings in northern Norway or Finland.
    (The Swedes insisted that the German weapons be shipped in separate compartments. )
  15. Joined
    13 Mar '07
    Moves
    39201
    17 Feb '21 22:50
    @duchess64 said
    As I recall, some schools have banned _Huckleberry Finn_ because it has the 'N-word' many times.
    Given the historical context, of course, frequent usage of the 'N-word' was completely understandable.
    Interestingly, when "The N-word of the Narcissus" was published in America, the publisher insisted that the title be changed to "The Children of the Sea". This was not because the notorious racial epithet in Conrad's original title was thought likely to offend, but because the publisher judged that American readers were not likely to want to read a book about a person of colour!
Back to Top