Literary Criticism online

Chinua Achebe (1930-2013)

A selective list of online literary criticism for the African (Nigerian) novelist and short-story writer Chinua Achebe, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer-reviewed sources


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introduction & biography

Chinua Achebe obituary at the UK Guardian 22 March 2013.

"Chinua Achebe." A short biography and list of his books, at Achebe's faculty page in the African Studies Dept., Brown Univ.

"Chinua Achebe." Articles on Achebe's themes, narrative structure, setting, and the African context of his work. Postcolonial Web, Prof. George Landow, ed. Academic web site.

"Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart Study Guide." Prof. Paul Brians provides the text for the Yeats poem "The Second Coming" ["Things fall apart; the center cannot hold..."] and a summary of Achebe's novel. Academic web site.

"After Empire: Chinua Achebe and the great African novel," by Ruth Franklin, The New Yorker 26 May 2008.

"Chinua Achebe." Cornell Univ. web site on Things Fall Apart includes an interview with Prof. Isaac Kramnick and Michele Moody-Williams.

Ezenwa-Ohaeto. A review of "At the Crossroads Hour." A review of Chinua Achebe: A Biography. London Review of Books 12 Nov. 1998, reviewed by Lewis Nkosi.

A teaching guide for Chinua Achebe, grades 9-12, from Edsitement, National Endowment for the Humanities.

Ekwe Ekwe, Herbert. "Chinua Achebe." A substantial introduction to Chinua Achebe, from the Literary Encyclopedia [subscription service].


literary criticism, Things Fall Apart

Begam, Richard. "Achebe's Sense of an Ending: History and Tragedy in Things Fall Apart." Studies in the Novel 29, 3 (Fall 1997) pp 396-411 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Greenberg, Jonathan. "Okonkwo and the Storyteller: Death, Accident, and Meaning in Chinua Achebe and Walter Benjamin" [Things Fall Apart]. Contemporary Literature 48 (Fall 2007).

Hoegberg, David. "Principle and practice: The logic of cultural violence in Achebe's Things Fall Apart." College Literature 26, 1 (Winter 1999) pp 69-79 [preview only, jstor].

Irele, F. Abiola. "The Crisis of Cultural Memory in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart." Prof. Abiola begins, "If there is any single work that can be considered central to the evolving canon of modern African literature, it is, without question, Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart." African Studies Quarterly 4, 3 (2000).

MacKenzie, Clayton G. "The Metamorphosis of Piety in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart." Research in African Literatures 27, 2 (Summer 1996) pp 128-38 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

McCarthy, B. Eugene. "Rhythm and Narrative Method in Achebe's Things Fall Apart." NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction 18, 3 (Spring 1985) pp 243-56 [preview only, jstor].

Njoku, Benedict Chiaka. The Four Novels of Chinua Achebe: A Critical Study (Peter Lang 1984). The complete book is available through this subscription service.

Obiechina, Emmanuel. "Structure and Significance in Achebe's Things Fall Apart." English in Africa 2, 2 (Sept 1975) pp 38-44 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Okpala, Jude Chudi. "Igbo Metaphysics in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart." Callaloo 25, 2 (Spring 2002) pp 559-66 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Okpewho, Isidore, ed. A review of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart: A Casebook (Oxford UP 2003). Reviewed by Chielozona Eze in African Studies Quarterly 7, 4 (Spring 2004). Publisher's web site.

Powell, Andrea. "Problematizing polygyny in the historical novels of Chinua Achebe: the role of the Western Feminist Scholar" [Things Fall Apart, Arrow of God]. Research in African Literatures 39, 1 (Spring 2008) pp 166-84 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Rhoads, Diana Akers. "Culture in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart". African Studies Review 36, 2 (Sept 1993) pp 61-72 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Snyder, Carey "The Possibilities and Pitfalls of Ethnographic Readings: Narrative Complexity in Things Fall Apart." College Literature 35, 2 (Spring 2008) pp 154-74 [muse, summary only].

Wise, Christopher. "Excavating the New Republic: Post-Colonial Subjectivity in Achebe's Things Fall Apart." Callaloo 22, 4 (Autumn 1999) pp 1054-70 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].


literary criticism, other works by/on Achebe

Erritouni, Ali. "Contradictions and Alternatives in Chinua Achebe's Anthills of the Savannah." Journal of Modern Literature 29, 2 (Winter 2006) pp 50-74 [excerpt only].

Eze, Emmanuel Chukuwudi. "Language and time in postcolonial experience" [Nigerian literature]. Research in African Literatures 39, 1 (Spring 2008) pp 24-47 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Fuchs, Jacob. "Postcolonial mock-epic: Abrogation and appropriation." Studies in the Literary Imagination 33, 2 (Fall 2000) [sub ser, questia].

Mathuray, Mark. "Realizing the sacred: power and meaning in Chinua Achebe's Arrow of God." Research in African Literatures 34, 3 (Autumn 2003) pp 46-65 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Munro, Ian H. "Textual dynamics in Chinua Achebe's Home and Exile and No Longer at Ease." International Fiction Review 31, 2 (2004) [sub ser, questia].

Olaniyan, Tejumola. "Chinua Achebe and an Archaeology of the Postcolonial African State" [Arrow of God]. Research in African Literatures 32, 3 (Autumn 2001) pp 22-9 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Sullivan, Joanna . "The Question of a National Literature for Nigeria." Research in African Literatures 32, 3 (Autumn 2001) pp 71-85 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Williams, Adebayo. "The Autumn of the Literary Patriarch: Chinua Achebe and the Politics of Remembering." Research in African Literatures 32, 2 (Autumn 2001) pp 8-21 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].


interviews & videos

"Chinua Achebe, The Art of Fiction No. 139." Paris Review 133 (Winter 1994).

Video of Chinua Achebe speaking at Harvard, 22 Sept. 2007, and links to several other Achibe video clips, at YouTube.

"On the Role of the African Writer," some comments by Chinua Achebe, provided by Prof. Robert Fletcher.

"Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Turns 50 This Year." Interview on the eve of Achebe's PEN American Center celebration. Village Voice 19 Feb. 2008.

An interview with Chinua Achebe. Conjunctions Fall 1991, by Bradford Morrow.

An interview with Chinua Achebe. Atlantic Monthly 2 August 2000, by Katie Bacon.

"Chinua Achebe papers." List of Achebe papers and manuscripts at Harvard Univ.'s Houghton Library.

"African Literature and Writers on the Internet." An extensive bibliography of open-access material, from the library at Stanford Univ., but many dead links.

(CHIN-oo-ah ah-chay-BAY)


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