The arguments and ideas in this book have emerged, not only from individual research, but also from dialogue, debate, help and advice from a number of sources. My first debt of gratitude is owed to Homi K. Bhabha, who supervised the doctoral thesis on which this book is based. His constant support, encouragement and faith in me have been invaluable. My thanks also go to Norman Vance, whose constructive and detailed comments on my work made all the difference, and whose friendship and institutional support have been very much appreciated. I am also grateful to Lynn Innes and Cedric Watts for their very useful discussion of the text.
Two colleagues and friends of mine from the University of Sussex have been especially helpful for writing this book. My deep gratitude and affection go to Denise deCaires Narain for her insightful ideas and for our frequent sessions of mutual ‘thesis-babble’. The friendship of Roland-François Lack has been vital, particularly during the final stages of completion. François’ practical help, his endless patience and untiring generosity have been crucial. My warmest thanks are due to him.
Many friends and teachers have given me sustained encouragement, warmth and intellectual support during the time of writing. I am grateful in particular to Isobel Armstrong, Tony Crowley and Robert Young.
My deepest and most loving acknowledgements are given to my family. My thanks to my grandparents, James and Ivy Edwards, my mother, Megan Kanneh, and Steven, Isata, James, Rhiannon Kadiatu and Idris Kanneh.
Thanks and love, of course, to Stuart, to Isata Megan and to Braimah Sean.
Sections of Chapter 1 of this book incorporate material revised from the following previously published pieces: Kadiatu Kanneh, ‘What is African Literature? Ethnography and Criticism’, in Paul Hyland and Mpalive-Hangson Msiska (eds), Writing and Africa (Harlow: Longman, 1997), reprinted by permission of Addison Wesley Longman Ltd; ‘“Africa” and Cultural Translation: Reading Difference’, in Keith Ansell-Pearson, Benita Parry and Judith Squires (eds), Cultural Readings of Imperialism: Edward Said and the Gravity of History (London: Laurence & Wishart, forthcoming).