Anglophone Cameroon literature 1959–90: A brief overview
This article examines modern Anglophone Cameroon literature from 1959 to 1990. The article argues that like most literature emanating from the continent a proper understanding of Anglophone Cameroon literature must be predicated on an analysis of its specific socio-historical determinants. A careful analysis of the corpus of Anglophone Cameroon literature from its inception to the 1990s reveals two broad phases. The first phase covers the period from 1959 to about 1984. In the Republic of Cameroon, this period begins shortly before ‘the end’ of colonialism to the rise of Paul Biya as the second president of Cameroon. The writers during this period like their counterparts elsewhere in Africa, critique the ‘othering’ of formerly colonized people in texts written by the colonizers. To counteract this marginalization, and as a vital part of the process of decolonization, these texts seek to give voice to the ‘subaltern’ in order to expose the misrepresentation and ‘negativization’ so rampant in colonial writings. The second phase of Anglophone Cameroon literature started in the mid-eighties and reached its apex in the 1990s. The literature of this period is an imaginative response to the political, social, and economic climate of this time. The article concludes that the 1980s and 1990s were pivotal decades for Anglophone Cameroon literature. The lack of publishing opportunities abroad and at home led authors to be very industrious and ingenuous. They tailored their literary style and genre to the taste of their home audience. The result was an engaging literature that responded directly to the political, social and economic climate of the time.
Keywords: Anglophone Cameroon literature, book history, literary history, postcolonialism