The African novel has had an uneasy relationship with world literature, but a way to locate the historical novel in world literature lies in the emphatic turn of African fiction to the historical novel. Positing a temporality of a decolonization not yet achieved, the contemporary African novel returns to the particulars of national histories to explain change that has remained unacknowledged or misrepresented for political reasons. It grapples with the writing of history as a conscious process of what Edward W. Said describes as “textualization”: a narration that stresses voice and style in order to convey the particularity of historical circumstance, not as reportage but as lived experience. The world making of world literature comes into play as historical becoming revealed in the retrospective account conscious of the conditions of its own telling.

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