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Queues of Limitless Hope: The Novel and Social Crisis in the African Republic of Letters

Queues of Limitless Hope asks: what happens to the novel form under the conditions of protracted socio-political crisis? The book situates the question in decolonisation-era Southern Africa, and answers it via a comparative analysis of the Bildungsroman form in postcolonial Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, and with the help of a critical apparatus that combines genre theory and theories of world literature. The book unsettles Africanist scholarship by integrating Zambia into a literary view of Anglophone southern Africa in unprecedented ways. The inclusion of a small and partially submerged national canon alongside the better-known literatures of South Africa and Zimbabwe enables fresh readings of both canonical and neglected texts. Its comparative, carefully historicised and theoryinformed critical approach enables Queues of Limitless Hope to articulate critical claims related to the history and theory of the novel as a world-making genre, in addition to more specific regional claims related to African literature. The book argues that the prominence of texts and forms in the global literary marketplace is not necessarily correlated to their transnational cultural importance. It also contends that to ignore non-globalised African forms is to risk misreading the specificity and range of the continent’s imaginaries of freedom.


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United Kingdom

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