Chinua Achebe, from An Image of Africa: Racism in Heart of Darkness (1988)

[Click on image to enlarge] Chinua Achebe (1930- ), the most celebrated African novelist of his generation, was born in Nigeria and educated — in English — at the University of Ibadan, where he subsequently taught briefly before joining the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation in Lagos. He was director of External Broadcasting from 1961 to 1966 and then launched a publishing company with the poet Christopher Okigbo, who was soon to die in the Nigerian Civil War. Achebe visited America in 1969 and, on his return, was appointed research fellow at the University of Nigeria. He is currently a professor at Bard college.

Achebe has written poems and short stories, but he is best known for his novels, Things Fall Apart (1958), No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), and A Man of the People (1966). These demonstrate his belief in the duty of the writer to help change the way the colonized world is seen, to wage "a battle of the mind with colonialism" by "re-educating" readers. Achebe's critical writing is sometimes included in the broad category of "postcolonial" criticism, as much of this work interrogates and takes issue with writing from the period of colonialism and/or writing that reinforces the politics of imperialism. Nowhere does Achebe do this more dramatically than in his essay on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, from which the following extract is taken.

 

The full text of Chinua Achebe's "An Image of Africa: Racism in Heart of Darkness" is available at http://www.erinyes.org/hod/image.of.africa.html

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