Reasons for reading in postcolonial Zambia
Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 48, (5), . (doi:10.1080/17449855.2012.720833).
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Built around a discussion of two interconnected case studies, the article seeks to help pave the way for a systematic study of a national literary tradition whose presence in the world literary space may be described as spectral. Through a discussion of a critically neglected Zambian literary archive from the 1960s and 1970s, and a survey of reading habits conducted in a Lusaka bookshop in 2010, it argues that Zambia’s postcolonial literature in English embodies what may be called a literariness of crisis, in which books are a desirable and valued but scarce social good; and that such sociopolitical conditions have been productive of a specific kind of local genre competence which may, in turn, be tied to a certain configuration of flexible and economical local ways of reading.
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