Friday, March 22, 2013

"There is that great proverb -- that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter..."

"Once I realized that, I had to be a writer. I had to be that historian," he said.

"It's not one man's job. It's not one person's job. But it is something we have to do, so that the story of the hunt will also reflect the agony, the travail -- the bravery, even, of the lions."

It's hard to overstate what Achebe meant to the literature of the world and of Africa in particular, I think.  For much of the Western world, Achebe basically was African literature.  In that way, I think his influence and his importance outstrip the quality of his books.  If that sounds backhanded, I don't mean it that way--Things Fall Apart is a good novel, but its legacy will always be greater than its literary value.  Very few authors did more to share the "bravery... of the lions" of the world.  RIP.

Achebe on 50BP:

Things Fall Apart (Christopher)
No Longer At Ease (Christopher)


Brittany said...

Is there a reason the previous years of 50books are unavailable? (I tried to click on Christopher's Things Fall Apart link but it took me to No Longer at Ease).

In that way, I think his influence and his importance outstrip the quality of his books...

Agreed. Things Fall Apart is not my favorite novel to come out of Africa, but it opened the door for all the other books and poetry.

I have never taught Things Fall Apart, but my school happens to have copies of it, so I am thinking of teaching it this year after the AP exam. Have you taught it before with luck? (I teach at a very low performing urban school and my AP kids come to me having only read a handful of books in the total of their high school career).

Christopher said...

I think it's just a bad link on my part. If you search for Achebe on the right, my review for TFA should come up.

I taught TFA my first year, and I'd say it went all right. My students sound similar to yours. They had a lot of difficulty with the names, and were never really able to keep the various characters straight, but the prose itself is really accessible and the themes are very rich.

Christopher said...

Link fixed.