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This article examines contemporary critical positions in African literature that mark off perceptible shifts in focus from issues of primal postcolonialism to a more self-reflexive treatment of postmodernism in contemporary African literature. Contemporary African literary works, novels, and plays have become markedly self-reflexive in the way they rewrite one another and draw attention to their own functionality and fictionality. These works present stylistic and thematic departures that challenge the nationalist and realist trend of earlier writing. Creative works further depart from the tradition of “writing back” to the European colonial center by focusing their gaze on local forms of oppression that are seen to parallel classical colonialism. Yet, while critics have separately studied postmodernism and self-reflexivity in African texts, the intersection of the two has not been given sufficient attention. The purpose of this analytical paper then is to decipher postmodernist aesthetics in African literary works, novels and plays, as developed to a higher level of self-consciousness. The specific question I address is to what extent postmodernism expresses itself as an outgrowth of modernism and postcolonialism?
Keywords: Modernity, postmodernism, postcolonialism, African literary theories and criticisms.
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