Amechi Akwanya

World Literatures

PhD
4.08

Publications

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    Amechi N Akwanya
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    ABSTRACT: Fernando Pessoa has several fictional characters who are claimed to be the authors of various collections of poetry gathered under his name. In the criticism, these are often seen as figures substituted for himself, while the poems which are not attributed to any of these fictional characters are treated as his own direct speech actions without subterfuge. This is in line with the conventions that have been dominant in discussions of literature, either to start from the author or from what Edward Said calls the 'social and economic outside facts'. With attention turned elsewhere, the literary work itself tends to figure as an instrument in the hands of the author for use in pursuing some purpose. In this paper, we are going to bring back the works into focus. Discourse analysis is helpful in doing this. It is also applied in this paper to help sharpen focus on the characters of discourse, their identities as discourse agents and the objects which exercise them, in order to achieve interpretation of the poems as discourse events.
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    Amechi Akwanya
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    DESCRIPTION: Conference paper on art theory/history of criticism based on Heidegger's 'The Origin of the Work of Art'
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    Amechi Akwanya
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    DESCRIPTION: Conference paper on literary theory based on Heidegger's 'The Origin of the Work of Art'.
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    A N Akwanya
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    ABSTRACT: The word theory so frequently collocates with the scientific disciplines that some take it to be a scientific term. Conceived as a different order of intellectual productivity than the sciences, use of theory with respect to art therefore strikes some as inappropriate. But if organized knowledge about art is possible, and genuine knowledge about it distinguishable from non-genuine, it must be because theory is at work in this study. Theory as a general statement about something is in fact implicated in the production, consumption, and study of art. The rather insignificant role some critics associate with it in the study may be owing to use of habitual knowledge to the extent of forgetfulness of the need to reexamine and reassess the founding principles. An academic discipline must be wary if the founding principles have become part of everyday discourse and are transmitted as traditional and socially and culturally useful knowledge – if, in other words, the student of this discipline receives his/her basic notions from the social space. This paper examines the theory function in art studies from concern over the undue influence of everyday utilitarian notions of art on the academic study of art in Nigeria. Introduction Of the different ways of regarding art, one appears to be most peripheral. This is the one that regards it as embellishment or a way of doing something – anything at all. In The Republic of Plato, some of these things are mentioned: the art of making money, the art of the vine-dresser, the art of medicine, the art of theft, the art of horsemanship, and so on. But it is understood that in all these, the focus is on the activity itself, which may be performed in one way or another – with finesse, indifferently, passably, poorly, and so on. So art in this sense is not what is meant by that word in the title of this paper. Yet it is taken seriously in one academic activity called 'stylistics'. Wimsatt and Beardsley, therefore, comment about this academic activity that 'it is the least theoretical in detail, has the least content, and makes the least demand on critical intelligence, so it is in the most concrete instances not a theory but a fiction or a fact – of no critical significance' (1972: 351). Stylistics may indeed celebrate the beauties of a Hopkins sonnet, a well-written newspaper column, or a well-rendered sermon, but there can be no coherent and consistent procedure for discovering these beauties, because the 'art' of doing something is obviously peripheral to that thing itself and peripheral to art also. The problem of the nature of art does not arise with stylistics or the art of doing anything. Art is also seen in terms of fulfilling a function, but whether it is a function and what does function mean with respect to art, or whether it is an object for itself and is self-justifying for this, these are not peripheral issues. The aim of this paper is to investigate art as an area of study in which theory must play a necessary part. Function, an Ambiguous Sign in Art Studies Theory as a general statement about a class of phenomena is strictly neutral as to the field of application as long as knowledge is in question. There are approaches to art in which knowledge is not directly in question. One such current runs in 'the Great Tradition' of British literary history, and is articulated as follows by Wordsworth writing about the literary artist: that 'He is the rock of defence of human nature; an upholder and preserver, carrying every where with him relationship and love' ('Preface to the Lyrical Ballads' 658). The Great Tradition is concerned with the question, what we can do with art, or what art can do for us, which is the question that Plato is concerned with in the dialogue between Socrates and Adeimantus: And what shall be [the heroes'] education? Can we find a better than the traditional sort?— and this has two divisions, gymnastic for the body, and music for the soul.
    Anya Fulu Ugo Interdisciplinary African Arts Conference in Honour of El Anatsui and Obiora Udechukwu, University of Nigeria, Nsukka; 06/2015
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    Amechi N Akwanya
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    ABSTRACT: Studies of Paul Celan's work usually devote substantial sections to his and his family's experience of concentration camps during World War II and thus questions might be raised whether these are the issues of his poetry, whether these are anecdotal and of general interest or whether they are the things that comprise his poetry. This study is based on the view that language behaves quite differently in poetry than in the execution of its other functions including historical documentation. Representation is the language function here and the output is an artwork. Condemnation to extermination, 'collective Jewish martyrdom', as Bekker puts it, on the basis of one's ethnic origin, the dire and dehumanizing experiences and the sense of the irrecuperable loss involved are undoubtedly at work in Paul Celan's poetry, but the poems are nevertheless extraordinary works of art. The paper explores the relationship.
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    A N Akwanya
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    ABSTRACT: Although Chinua Achebe acknowledges Conrad's works to be 'permanent literature', his hostility towards them, especially Heart of Darkness, is well known; for he maintains that they have a racist sub-text. However, there are significant patterns of similarity that run among some of their works. In Conrad's Lord Jim and Achebe's No Longer at Ease, for instance, the heroes, both idealists, though of different tempers, experience the same kind of test of which the consequences of failure are a tragic reversal of fortunes. In his own test, which is deliberately set up as a police sting operation, Obi Okonkwo is defeated in all his ideals, his self-image reduced to rags. He is clearly aware of the extent of the disaster and sees that there is nothing any more to fight for. The trial that Jim is exposed to is as if designed by the higher powers, which invests his story with the air of a sublime tragedy, being that he is confronted by 'more than man'. But although his ego-ideal has unravelled before his own eyes at least once before, he amazingly clings to a self-image that is the exact opposite of who he is. And he is prepared to defend this fiction with all violence if it be challenged. He is compelled by one final infamy suffered in Patusan, his last frontier, where in his thinking he had escaped from bullying from invisible forces, to admit that 'there is nothing to fight for'. This paper will explore more fully the relationships that hold between the two texts, with the expectation to establish that each in its own way accesses the same identical myth which Gilbert Murray calls the Year God. Introduction He became chief mate of a fine ship, without ever having been tested by those events of the sea that show in the light of day the inner worth of a man, the edge of his temper, and the fibre of his stuff; that reveal the quality of his resistance and the secret truth of his pretences, not only to others but also to himself (Lord Jim 10).
    The Village within the Global Village: Art and Culture in a Globalizing World, 1 edited by A.N. Akwanya, 01/2015: chapter 6: pages 103-118; Great AP Express Publishers., ISBN: 978 8087 64 7
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    Amechi N Akwanya
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    ABSTRACT: The variety of human activities and needs gives rise to a plurality of language functions, among them communication. However, communication is so highly rated that for many this is not merely a function, but the key factor that defines the reality of language. This high rating of communication has important consequences. For example, the variety of functions tends to be reduced to forms of communication. On the other hand, it leaves language in an environment to function in anonymity and pure transparency, becoming a point of serious discussion only within academic linguistics. Among literary scholars, it is either ignored just as in the common usage or it is discussed under one theme or another of academic linguistics. Between these two extremes, however, lies a deep question as to what language is to literature. This is the question opened up in this paper; and it is postulated that an adequate account of the relation of language and literature may only be attempted within a theory of literature.
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    Amechi Nicholas Akwanya
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    ABSTRACT: Secondary education in Nigeria has been a source of concern for some time because of recurring poor performance of the students in the terminal certificate examination, suggesting serious shortfalls in the expected learning outcomes, in terms of skills and the acceptable level of knowledge acquisition requisite for advancement to higher education. Some of the reasons for this state of affairs may be traced back to poor foundation in primary education, some to the quality of instruction in the secondary schools and lack of proper guidance at this level, and some to inadequate facilities and teaching and learning aids. The news media often cite as a major causative factor distraction owing to wrong use and inordinate attachment to the gadgets of modern communication on the part of the students themselves. However, there are aspects of the problem which do not emanate from the school or social media, but from the home and the social environment. One such factor is poor parenting. In this paper, we look at the family support system which is impaired in many cases because of poverty and consequently higher proportions of time and incomes devoted to food for the family. Such demoralized parents are hardly able to provide the motivation, target-setting, the guidance and clear sense of purpose, and the emotional back up which a child needs for confidence and focus.
    2014 Annual Conference on Sustainable Quality Secondary Education Policy Management and Implementation, New Conference Hall, Tinapa Lakeside Hotel, Calabar; 11/2014
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    Amechi Akwanya
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    ABSTRACT: Language, the condition of emergence of the human form as man is in its ancient determination poetry, a fact memorialized by the German poet Hölderlin in the immortal lines, ‘Full of merit, yet poetically, man / Dwells on this earth’. This at the same time signifies that the conditionalities of this emergence are part and parcel of what it means to be human. Discussions of literature/poetry today, however, tend to take the paths linking it to society and social practice, to history, and to the being and intentions of the artist. In many of the cases, there is a loop that leads to what it may be saying to the present, to the reader. In thus treating literature as a means of doing something, an instrument in general, there is a forgetting and intensification of the forgetting of basic facts about literature. In this paper, we read Heidegger’s Poetry, Language, Thought to guide us in recalling to consciousness the being of poetry as a specific form, self-contained and self-sustaining.
    First Professor Fidelis Uzochukwu Okafor Annual International Lecture,, Anambra State University, Igbariam Campus, 2-4 October 2014; 10/2014
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    A N Akwanya
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    ABSTRACT: Arrow of God would be considered under Emile Durkheim's model of division of labour as a fairly more advanced society than Things Fall Apart because of the greater complexity of the social structure in the former novel. The world renowned masterpiece, by contrast, is fairly simple in its structure. The familial functions are the same in the two works. The husband and father is the official breadwinner and the manager of the family's resources, extending from land and homestead to food resources. He provides security and is the representative of the family group in the town's decision-making body. It is at the social level of organization that we see the disparity in structure and functions. Both are emergent societies, moving from a theocratic order to a democratic one. Along this path, Things Fall Apart is more advanced than Arrow of God, whereas the expectation should be that the one with greater division of labour should be the more advanced society. Neither, however, may be used as a model for what has sometimes been called Igbo republicanism. The processes of evolution involve much suffering for the key individuals and turmoil at the social level, but are purely internal to these societies. The ongoing movement of colonization which intersects at a point of maximum vulnerability with the formerly isolated communities and incorporates them is more opportunistic than causative.
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    Amechi Akwanya
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    ABSTRACT: What may legitimately be expected of art, as for any entity whatsoever, ought to depend on the nature of the entity itself, since action follows from being. The first order of business therefore in studying possible applications of art must be to try and determine its identity. This has not generally been the case in the history of literary studies, although it is common in literary appreciation to read back to the text from notions about what art is supposed to do. From Renaissance humanism until the early twentieth century, little is said about the being of art; a lot more is heard about what it could do and the argument was frequently defensive and shifty, not proceeding from first principles. This paper turns on Hegel’s account of art as constituting adequate in contrast to immediate existence, whereby it is raised to the status of an aesthetic object. It is on this aesthetic dimension that the effectivity of art and a possible functionality in fostering a common humanity may be based. And if by means of the aesthetic attitude, the human willingly comes under the sway of art, practical interests are at the same time forsaken – hence the divisive and conflictual.
    First International Conference of Faculty of Arts, Anambra State University, Igbariam Campus; 09/2014
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    Amechi N Akwanya
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    ABSTRACT: The poetry of Lesmian is among the most striking of the entire modernist tradition. The format is often narration, but the incidents and the sequences that unfold are so far removed from human experience as to raise questions of overall intelligibility. As an order of words, the poems are also strange and alienating because the words are not always established members of the repertoire and often name entities and actions outside the realm of the knowable. As a result, meaning is hard to work out at any level literal or figural. But they always have an arresting quality that cannot be ignored. The readings available in English are not many, but the arguments for the ultimate cause of the poetry in a vision thought to be the author's tend to be purely speculative. In this paper, based on the understanding of poetry as a movement of thought, risked and satisfied, as Roland Barthes would say, the poems are seen as following the possibilities of existence beyond the exclusive antonyms, being and nothingness. At the risk of an epistemology having the entire oeuvre in its sights instead of the poems as individual and independent utterances, use is also made of the features which recur or re-echo across poems as threads to activate a dialogue between them.
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    Amechi N Akwanya
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    ABSTRACT: Literary studies continues to draw from Plato and Aristotle as the fundamental concepts of the discipline were identified by those ancient philosophers. But the usage of the concepts has remained in divided to the present. Notions like mimesis, poetry, and art which refer to the dimension of human productivity to which criticism is applied have passed into ordinary language and general knowledge and therefore seem not to demand special effort to learnor require technical treatment. But it is necessary to understand them both technically and precisely in order that criticism and discourse analysis of literature may be able to know their object in opposition to other objects. As well as instruments for use in discovering their objects, those foundational concepts of the discipline of literary criticism and discourse analysis of literature are also the working tools for the study of those very objects. In this paper, we shall look at the founding concepts together with a few others besides; we shall observe how they have been clarified in recent times by phenomenology and we shall also attempt with the help of axiomatic functionalism to present these updated meaning contents economically.
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    A N Akwanya
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    ABSTRACT: Nigeria is a mosaic of many ethno-linguistic groups, some large, many very small indeed, altogether numbering about 250. It is important however to remember that this nation came into being not by amalgamation of all these ethno-linguistic groups, but of two British Protectorates, Northern and Southern Nigeria, which could have gone on to develop independently like Northern and Southern Rhodesia. This act of Amalgamation in 1914 launched it into world political culture on the basis of European nation-state system rather than on the basis of local political institutions. Since this 1914 event, and particularly from the 1940s following the birth of nationalist movements, tensions have been developing, occasionally defined within a north-south cleavage, especially in the North which comprised one vast region in the pre-Civil War period, while the South comprised three regions, all independent minded. However, the serious problems that have threatened in some cases the holding together of the nation-state itself is often based on ethno-linguistic affiliations. In this paper, I explore the ethnic diversity of the country, the history of tensions, and the possibilities of coexistence and forging of identities based on the nation-state. Introduction The story of emergence of Nigeria as a geographical and political entity is associated with the name of Lord Lugard and the date is 1914. It is an event that some in Nigeria view with misgivings. Constitutional politics, however, takes it as a historical fact marking true emergence: something new had come into being and could not be wished out of existence or somehow suppressed. The creation of a state is a major world event,
    Pope JohnPaul II Memorial Lecture Series 2014, Pope John Paul II Major Seminary, Okpuno Awka, Anambra State; 04/2014
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    Nicholas Amechi · Akwanya
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    ABSTRACT: T. Obinkaram Echewa"s The Land's Lord appears to be little known am ong African literary critics, but it is a narrative that explores the individual soul in such a way that it seems to reach far beyond that individual soul, achieving far wider significance. A reading of this novel based on the action represented m ay get caught up in the discourse and discursive practices of African traditional society and its familiar narrative strategies, whereas it is asking much deeper questions, questions of existence, self-cognition, and identity. One of the main characters of this novel, Philip, is centrally preoccupied with these questions. Sartre"s philosophy of authentic humanness is used in this study to make sense of Philip"s search, and to account for the other characters" struggles and the kinds of meanings they construct out of their experiences.
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    Amechi N. Akwanya
    01/2014; 19(7):88-96. DOI:10.9790/0837-19778896
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    Amechi Nicholas Akwanya
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    ABSTRACT: Chinua Achebe's Anthills of the Savannah has often been called a 'political novel' and directly linked to the experience of military rule in Nigeria, even though that country is not mentioned in the story. It leaves open the question what might be Achebe's purpose in such an undertaking. Would he be trying to tell the people what they already know about their experience under military rule, or to provide guidelines, the dos and the don'ts to keep in view for successful military rule, or is he saying that military rule is all right as long as it is responsive to the needs of the people? This way of reading the novel may have discouraged literary criticism of it, as it tends to end in inane plot summaries. This paper takes the view that Anthills of the Savannah is a literary novel, which demands literary criticism. The approach followed here is to analyze the metaphors of the work in such a way that its form as a text, a woven pattern is apparent.
    English Studies 12/2013; 4(10):486-494. DOI:10.5897/IJEL2013.0496
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    Nicholas Amechi · Akwanya
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    ABSTRACT: Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apartis perhaps the most successful African novel and was recognized almost from its very first appearance as a world classic. One masterpiece is undoubtedly a great achievement for a writer; and few are able to produce more than one or two in a lifetime. In Achebe's case, where the acknowledged masterpiece is the author's very first work, there have been occasional remarks to the effect that it was a lucky shot, and nothing more. But the fact is that with all the attention mostlyon that first work, the others have not been given enough attention to determine their true worth. They certainly deserve serious and individual attention, each being distinctive as a narrative in terms of structure and overall significance and responsive to various different literary theories. Using identity theory, but thinking hermeneutically, this paper will shed new light on the author's five novels. The functioning of each major character at a critical juncture where the vital exchanges causing changes both in individual life and in his life-world means that notwithstanding the nature of the sequences in which they attempt to realize themselves, the works all have the seriousness of ‗historical' novels. With the combination of identity theory and hermeneutics, therefore, we shall be able to see more clearly the ways in which the different characters understand themselves and enact their identities in their different social environments, what roles they have and what these roles mean to them, the nature of the blockages they encounter in their attempts at self-verification and what the defeat of these efforts entails both to them and their life-worlds.
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    Amechi Nicholas Akwanya · Emeka Thomas · Michael Chukwumezie
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    ABSTRACT: Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest and Wole Soyinka's The Lion and the Jewel are plays often read for their social relevance, rarely picking up their classical resonance and discovering their deeper levels of meaning. As a result, discussions tend to focus on what might be the point of the play. In this paper in which we follow Northrop Frye in exploring comedy to its roots in myth and ritual, we shall examine the deep mythic forms that underlie the two plays. This enables us to see them as sequences re-enacting the spring archetype in which life and community are renewed and rejuvenated.
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    Amechi Nicholas Akwanya
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    ABSTRACT: There is always a complication in the narrative process in Chinua Achebe's novels whereby the story though important in itself attains greater urgency in that it is puzzling out something about the character's state of mind and the compelling circumstances in which he acts. The story existents therefore typically include the figure of a witness, in addition to character and action. In the scale of values of Anthills of the Savannah, the witness is considered to be at least as important for the narrative as the character. By virtue of the actions they take, the characters are rendered solitary and spectacular, and the preserving of their story may be thanks entirely to the witness, but at the same time he probes motives and circumstances in order to try and understand. His insights are therefore necessary for an adequate interpretation of the narrative. In some works like A Man of the People, he doubles as the narrator; in others like Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God, the narrator is a different intelligence and the two functions must not be collapsed into one another, as is usually done in studies of these novels. The question, why did he do it recurs in Achebe's writings. We follow it in reading here to ensure that all the relevant insights are taken into consideration and an adequate interpretation attained.

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