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African Women and Literature

Carolyn Kumah


If “literature, though imaginative, can be used for a systematic study of society,” the status of women’s authorship, and the nature of their depiction within the African literary tradition are certainly issues of great relevance (Ogundipe-Leslie Re-Creating 44). For the degree to which works are penned by women, the manner in which these texts are critically received, and the roles women occupy within the general body of African literature, are all reflective of societal attitudes toward women. Unfortunately, the African literary canon is characterized by the inadequate representation of female-authored works. Moreover, the literature it is inclusive of, often perpetuates the gender myths that are typically projected onto African societies via the Western gaze. In many instances, African women writers are marginalized by their male counterparts, and their works either remain unacknowledged or tokenized by literary critics.

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, and Olufemi Taiwo.

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