AN IMAGE OF AFRICA / 1783
Called "the father of the Afdcan novel," Chinua Achebe is best known for his fiction foregrounding the political struggles of Nigeria. His novels to date are Things Fall .\part (I 958), No LOllger at Ease (I 960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People ( 1966), and Atlthills of tT,e Sc,.vamlah (I987). He has also published two short story collections, an award-winning volume of poetry, four works of juvenile literature, and four edited collections of African literature. Mornit'g Yet on· Creation Day: Essays (1975) and Hope.~ and Impediments: Selected Essays, 1965-1987 (1988) are over- lupping collections of his literary criticism, primarily dealing with the role of the African writer in society. Both include "An Image of Africa:" His other criticism includes the slim volumes A. Tribute to James Baldwin (1989) and Home and Exile (2000), and three volumes directly addressing Nigerian politics: The Trouble with Nigeria (1983), The World of the Ogbanje (1986), and The University and the Lead- e,·.~l1il' Factor in Nige"iGfI Poli.tics (1988).
The large secondary literature on Achebe deals primarily with his career as a nov- elist. Ezenwa-Ohaeto's elriJlua AcI,ebe: A Biography (1997) is a detailed account of Achebe's life and travels. Catherine Innes's Chinua Achebe (I990) offers the best critical survey of his novels as well as his other writings. Though focused on Achebe's novels, Simon Gikandi's Reading el,itlUa Achebe: Langunge atM Ideology iu Fictiou ( 1991) examines them in relation to the critical essays. Chiuua Achebe: A Celebration edited by Kirsten Peterson and Anna Rutherford (1991), offers tributes to Achebe.
There are many entries in the debate over "An Image of Africa": defenders of Con- md include Caribbean writer Wilson Harris in "The Frontier on Which Heart of Dark- ,wss Stands," Reseclrch on African Literatures 12 (1981); and Hunt Hawkins, "The Issue of Racism in Heart (~f Darkuess," Conradiana (1982); following Achebe is Frances B. Singh, "The Colonialistic Bias of Hea rt ojDarkness," Conradia'llI 10(1978); and compromise views are offered by the postcolonial critic Benita Parry in Conradand Imperialism (1983); and Patrick Brantlinger, "Heart of Darkness: Anti-Imperialism, Racism, or Impressionism?" Criticism 27 (1985). Later updates include Sandya Shetty, "Heart of Darklless: Out of Africa Some New Thing Never Comes," Journal of Modern. Literatu.re 15 (1989). and Hunt Hawkins, "Conrad's Heart of Darkness: Poli- tics and History," Com'adicma 24 (1992). Ezenwa-Ohaeto's ChitlUll Achebe (cited above) contains a usefu I bibliography of his writing and of selected secondary sour<;es, and [nnes's Chil1Un AcheZ,e (cited above) includes a comprehensive bibliography.
An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness) [n the fall of 1974 I was walking one day from the English Department at (he University of Massachusetts to a parking lot. It was a fine autumn morn- ing such as...