“A Dangerous Love”: Ben Okri’s Persisting Commitment to Literary Experimentation

Maurice Frank O'Connor

Abstract


A once high-profile post-colonial writer, it is noticeable that the London-Nigerian novelist and essayist Ben Okri has all but dropped out of view as far as the literary establishment is concerned. While his earlier works still receive much academic attention and are deemed highly influential, critical engagements with his later fiction are almost non-existent. With this in mind, our aim is to map out the many transformations the author’s work has gone through and offer explanations as to the reasons behind certain negative receptions of the author’s work. To understand the new directions the author’s current writings have taken, one must analyse the totality of his novelistic writings as a single collective body striving towards a sustained renovation of the literary form. Our premise is that this experimentation might, contrary to its aim, be hampering the author’s success, and our study shall, therefore, examine in detail the experimental nature of these later works and offer a series of perceptions as to their possible shortcomings.


Keywords: Ben Okri; post-colonial writing; literary experimentation; spiritual resource-bases; hybridism; New Ageism


Full Text:

PDF

References


Appiah, Kwame Anthony. 1992. “Spiritual Realism.” The Nation, August 3-10, 146-148.

Cooper, Brenda. 1998. Magic Realism in Western and African Fiction: Seeing with a Third Eye. London and New York: Routledge.

Fernández Vázquez, José Santiago. 2002. La novela de formación: una aproximación a la ideología colonial europea desde la óptica del Bildungsroman clásico. Alcalá de Henares: Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Alcalá.

Fox, Alistair. 2005. “In Search of the Postmodern Utopia: Ben Okri’s In Arcadia.” Portal Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies 2 (2): 1-16.

Fraser, Robert. 2002. Ben Okri. Writers and Their Work. Devon: Northcote House.

Gutleben, Christian. 2013. “African Ghotic: Ben Okri’s Aesthetics of the Uncanny in The Famished Road.” In The Famished Road: Ben Okri’s Imagined Homelands, edited by Vanessa Guignery, 47-58. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.

Harner, Michael. 1980. The Way of the Shaman: A Guide To Power and Healing. New York: Bantam Books.

Hawley, John C. 1995. “Ben Okri’s Spirit-Child: Abiku Migration and Postmodernity.” Research in African Literatures 26 (1): 30-39.

Mamadu, Ayo. 1991. “Portrait of a Young Artist in Ben Okri’s The Landscapes Within.” Commonwealth Essays and Studies 13 (2): 85-91.

McCabe, Douglas. 2005. “‘Higher Realities’: New Spirituality in Ben Okri’s The Famished Road.” Research in African Literatures 36 (4): 1-21.

—. 2013. “New Age Spirituality, Abiku and Hunger in The Famished Road.” Commonwealth 35 (2): 21-31.

Nabokov, Vladimir. (1981) 2002. Lectures on Russian Literature. Boston: Mariner Books.

O’Connor, Maurice. 2008. “A Journey Towards Stillness: Modes of Renewal in Ben Okri’s Starbook.” Wasafiri 23 (2):17-22.

Okri, Ben. 1979. Flowers and Shadows. London: Longman Drumbeat.

—. 1981. The Landscapes Within. London: Longman.

—. 1986. Incidents at the Shrine. London: Vintage.

—. 1988. Stars of the New Curfew. London: Vintage.

—. (1991) 1993. The Famished Road. London: Vintage.

—. (1993) 1994. Songs of Enchantment. London: Vintage.

—. 1995. Astonishing the Gods. London: Phoenix.

—. 1996. Dangerous Love. London: Phoenix.

—. 1998. Infinite Riches. London: Phoenix.

—. 2002. In Arcadia. London: Phoenix.

—. 2007. Starbook: A Magical Tale of Love and Regeneration. London: Rider.

—. 2009. Tales of Freedom. London: Rider.

—. 2011. A Time For New Dreams. London: Rider.

—. 2014. The Age of Magic. London: Head of Zeus.

Phillips, Maggi. 1997. “Ben Okri’s River Narratives: The Famished Road and Songs of Enchantment.” In Contemporary African Fiction, edited by Derek Wright, 167-179. Bayreuth: Breitinger.

Quayson, Ato. 1995. “Esoteric Webwork as Nervous System: Reading the Fantastic in Ben Okri’s Writing.” In Essays on African Writing, edited by Abdulrazak Gurnah, 144-158. Oxford: Heinemann.

—. 1997. Strategic Transformations in Nigerian Literature: Orality and History in the Work of Rev. Samuel Johnson, Amos Tutuola, Wole Soyinka, and Ben Okri. Oxford: James Currey.

Rea, Williams. 1998. “Rationalising Culture: Youth, Elites and Masquerade Politics.” Africa 68 (1): 98-116.

Renato, Oliva. 1999. “Re-Dreaming the World: Ben Okri’s Shamanic Realism.” In Coterminous Worlds: Magic Realism and Contemporary Post Colonial Literature in English, edited by Elsa Linguanti, 171-196. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Tunca, Daria. 2014. Stylistic Approaches to Nigerian Fiction. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wilkinson, Jane. 1992. Talking with African Writers. London: James Currey.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Atlantis. Journal of the Spanish Association for Anglo-American Studies
ISSN: 0210-6124 | e-ISSN: 1989-6840. © Atlantis/Aedean 2013.
Contact | Privacy Statement | Copyright notice | Journal Help| Site Map