African Settings in Contemporary American Novels

By Dave Kuhne | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
Filling in the Blank Space: Contemporary American Novels Set in Invented African Nations

Several American authors have set their novels in invented African nations, imaginary countries meant to represent the characteristics, values, and conflicts of the entire continent. Contemporary American novels set in invented African nations include The Seersucker Whipsaw by Ross Thomas, The Tangent Objective and The Tangent Factor by Lawrence Sanders, The Coup by John Updike, Land Without Shadow by Michael Mewshaw, and Horn of Africa by Philip Caputo. For the most part, these novels conform to the traditional Western notions about Africa outlined in Chapter 1. Among these conventions are the ideas that the West and Africa are in binary opposition, that Africa is a mysterious "blank" space, and that Africa is a testing zone where Westerners can experience epiphanies or gain rewards.

American novels with invented African settings are largely didactic. These works relay information about actual African cultures by including features of actual Africa in descriptions of invented settings. The use of an invented African nation as the setting for a novel allows authors to focus on the relationship between the West and Africa without being critical of any single African country. Like actual African nations, invented African countries are frequently divided by political, tribal, and religious conflicts; these divisions are often the result of different peoples being grouped together under a single flag by their former colonial masters. Again and again, novels set in invented Africas note that political upheaval in Africa is the legacy of imperialism. These novels are also reminders that imperialism, in the guise of Cold War conflicts in which the superpowers use Africa as a battleground, is still a powerful force in contemporary Africa.

Some readers may assume that the invented African nations they encounter in contemporary American fiction are actual countries. Most authors of these novels

-27-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
African Settings in Contemporary American Novels
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 156

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.