Commitment and Critique: Contemporary Literature and the Political Imagination

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Editors Dr Blossom N. Fondo ( Dr Adamu Pangmeshi (

It is an undeniable fact that indeed literature has moved from the realm of mere entertainment to one of commitment. Any survey of contemporary literature proves more than ever before that there can be no talk of "arts for art's sake". Hardly any writer who wishes to be taken seriously writes for the sake of writing or to entertain his readers. Entertainment has rapidly given way to commitment and today writers are interested in appraising the world in which they live and write and thereby imagine a better world for humankind. This has infused a political dimension into literature such that it is mainly concerned with a critique of the society. Thus literature today has come to occupy an important position as political discourse. This may probably explain why many writers have run into trouble with the powers of the society and many others have been jailed while some have been exiled or have gone into exile. However, this does not mean that literature concerns itself only with the malfunctioning of governments or the misdeeds of the wielders of power – although it also means that. Rather, it is indicative of how literature has become a mode of addressing, questioning and criticizing diverse societal occurrences. By "political imagination", we are interested in the critical role of literature vis-à-vis the society in which it is written. That is, how is literature made to be both socially and politically responsible? Is there a style peculiar to literature of commitment and criticism? How do writers manipulate language to achieve the political effect? How can contemporary literature provide alternatives to the present world order? This collection is therefore welcoming complete papers of a high quality that focus on the functional role of literature in the society. Contributors can therefore address any of the following although they are not limited to these:
- Contemporary literature as political discourse
- Contemporary literature and social criticism
- The aesthetics of political writing
- Contemporary literature and the question of morality
- Contemporary literature and racism
- Contemporary literature and terrorism/the war on terror
- Contemporary literature and modes of criticism
- Literature and the question of morality