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Tag Archives: Chinua Achebe

Remembering Two Literary Heavyweights The World Lost In 2013

Chinua Achebe, left, and Albert L. Murray, right Almost 18 years ago in The New Yorker, Anisfield-Wolf Jury Chair Henry Louis Gates Jr. profiled the intellectual and novelist Albert L. Murray, concluding, with a flourish, “this is Albert Murray’s century; we just live in it.” That century ended August 18, 2013, when the Alabama-born man of letters died in New York at age 97. Gates memorialized the man, writing “Murray will be remembered as one of the great aesthetic theorists of American culture, specifically for his concept of the ‘blues aesthetic,’ which he identified as the subtext and deep structure of what, to the last, he thought of as Negro-American culture.” That hyphen was inviolate to Murray. In his magnificent 1970 essay collection, The Omni-American, Murray... Read More →

Celebrated Nigerian Author Chinua Achebe Dies At 82

During my freshman year at Kent State University, I was a little wary when I saw one of the books listed on my syllabus in my English class: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. My tongue stumbled over his name and I sat there trying all the possible pronunciations until I figured it might be best to just ask the professor.  I grabbed the book from the university bookstore and went back to my dorm to read a few chapters. Instead, I finished the whole book that evening.  Set in Nigeria, highlighting the conflict between traditional Igbo culture and colonialism, Things Fall Apart hooked me in a way that few books have since. The story of Okonkwo and his quest to be noble and respected, unlike his father Unoka, deeply resonated with me and millions of other readers. Whenever I would... Read More →
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