Research in African Literature is still in the early stages: it is arguably still possible to attempt to investigate the whole field of literature which has come from Black Africa and to make a comprehensive assessment of its nature. Within the limits of its constraints, this is the aim of this dissertation. However, it does not set out to relate the literature to the real world, or to the recent social and political history of Africa. Rather than take for granted a particular given relationship between the literary work of art and the surrounding life-world, or even to assume that the very nature of literature is fully known, the inquiry uses a set of working hypotheses to conduct an investigation - in the specific context of Africa - into the nature of narrative as such.
The argument is not of course developed ex nihilo, and owes much to other workers in these fields. In particular I owe a great debt to my supervisor Dr Horst Ruthrof for his profoundly knowledgeable guidance. I should also like to thank Professor John Frodsham for suggesting this field of inquiry and helping in the initial investigation, and Harry Aveling and Hugh Webb for sharing their knowledge of African literature with me.
This dissertation was submitted for the degree of Master of Philosophy of Murdoch University, which was awarded in 1977.
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