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This 1973 text was the first detailed study of that phenomenon of the African literary scene, Onitsha market literature. Pen names and pamphlet titles adopted by Onitsha authors have often been the subject of amused comment, but it took a long time for Onitsha writing to be recognised for what it is: a genuinely popular literature, unique on Africa, written in English by Africans for an exclusively African audience. What are the origins of this literature? Why did it start in Onitsha? Why do certain themes recur? Where have the writer acquired their unconventional attitudes to love, marriage, sex? What influences have shaped the robust and unorthodox language they use? Dr Obiechina answers these questions and asks what we can learn from the Onitsha authors about social change in Nigeria - how do they attempt to reconcile the traditional rural community and the aggressive individualistic urban society with alien values?
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