Something Torn and New: Book summary and reviews of Something Torn and New by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Something Torn and New

An African Renaissance

by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Something Torn and New

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Book Summary

Novelist Ngugi wa Thiong'o has been a force in African literature for decades: Since the 1970s, when he gave up the English language to commit himself to writing in African languages, his foremost concern has been the critical importance of language to culture. In Something Torn and New, Ngugi explores Africa's historical, economic, and cultural fragmentation by slavery, colonialism, and globalization. Throughout this tragic history, a constant and irrepressible force was Europhonism: the replacement of native names, languages, and identities with European ones. The result was the dismemberment of African memory.

Seeking to remember language in order to revitalize it, Ngugi's quest is for wholeness. Wide-ranging, erudite, and hopeful, Something Torn and New is a cri de coeur to save Africa's cultural future.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Ngugi's language is fresh; the questions he raises are profound, the argument he makes is clear: 'To starve or kill a language is to starve and kill a people's memory bank.'" - Publishers Weekly

"A slim volume with a very impassioned discussion of the impact of colonialism and hope for cultural recovery." - Booklist

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Author Information

Ngugi wa Thiong'o Author Biography

Photo © Courtesy of the author

Ngugi wa Thiong'o, currently Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine, was born in Kenya, in 1938 into a large peasant family. He was educated at Kamandura, Manguu and Kinyogori primary schools; Alliance High School, all in Kenya; Makerere University College (then a campus of London University), Kampala, Uganda; and the University of Leeds, Britain. He is recipient of seven Honorary Doctorates viz D Litt (Albright); PhD (Roskilde); D Litt (Leeds); D Litt &Ph D (Walter Sisulu University); PhD (Carlstate); D Litt (Dillard) and D Litt (Auckland University). He is also Honorary Member of American Academy of Letters. A many-sided intellectual, he is a novelist, essayist, playwright, journalist, editor, academic and social activist.

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Link to Ngugi wa Thiong'o's Website

Name Pronunciation
Ngugi wa Thiong'o: GU-gi wa-ti-ONG-go

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