Spain’s only former colony in sub-Saharan Africa, Equatorial Guinea is home to a literature of transition—songs of freedom in which authors reflect on their identity within the context of recent colonialism and dictatorship.
An Introduction to the Literature of Equatorial Guinea is the first book-length critical study of this literature, a multigenre analysis encompassing fifty years of poetry, drama, essays, and prose fiction. Both resident and exiled authors offer insights into the impact of colonialism and dictatorship under Spanish rule and consider the fruits of “independence” under the regimes of Francisco Macías Nguema and Teodoro Obiang Nguema. Examining these works from the perspective of postcolonial theory, Marvin A. Lewis shows how writings from Equatorial Guinea depict the clash of traditional and European cultures and reflect a dictatorship that produced poverty, misery, and oppression. He assesses with particular care the impact of the Macías reafricanization process and its manifestations in literature.
In showing how the views of the nation correspond and diverge in works of writers such as Maria Nsue Angue, Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo, and Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, Lewis brings to light artists who articulate their concerns in Spanish but are African in their souls. In analyzing the works of both renowned and emerging writers, he marks the themes that contribute to the formation of national identity: Hispanic heritage, the myth of Bantu unity, “bonding in adversity” during the Nguema regime, and the Equatoguinean diaspora.
Lewis provides an accessible introduction to the work of central writers in a new area of literary study and includes the most exhaustive and up-to-date bibliography available on the subject. His is a groundbreaking work that broadens our understanding of African literature and will be the bedrock for future studies of this Hispanic corner of Africa.