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Narrative Structure and Metaphor: Towards a new aesthetics of the Kiswahili novel

Kyallo Wadi Wamitila


For a long time the Kiswahili novel has been firmly rooted in the classical realism associated with 19th Century European novel. There are a number of features that are associated with that mode of representing reality. Some of these include use of fictional characters that are modelled along observable characters in life, hence acting as typical representatives and strict observance of the principle of verisimilitude, imitative copying, as well as observing and attempting to document the real in the society.
In this essay, I aspire to examine narrative structure and the use of metaphor in Kiswahili narrative fiction. The topic has been chosen since it is amenable to a number of critical observations that will help us characterise the Kiswahili novel of the postcolonial era as well as show how the same departs, subverts and negates already ‘formalised’ novelistic conventions and generic expectations. In the novels that will be discussed in the essay, readers’ expectations are greatly warped by the structural features where authors fuse myth, fantasy and realism.

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eISSN: 0023-1886