Plotting Marriage and Love in Elechi Amadi’s The Concubine: Extended Realism in the African Novel

F. Fiona Moolla, University of the Western Cape, South Africa


Unlike most other 20th-century African writers, Elechi Amadi foregrounds the theme of romantic love in most of his fiction. Unlike the internationally canonized “village novels” of Chinua Achebe, Amadi’s “village novels” bracket the rupture of colonial modernity in order to rewrite and reinscribe the love-marriage plot, a plot structure subtending the origins of the novel in Europe in the 18th century. A transformed love-marriage plot is embedded in a network of alternative conceptions of intimate relations that simultaneously crosses the zone of the material world of procedural rationality into the spirit world constitutive of the substantive rationality of mythos. Variant marriage plot forms thus are nevertheless presented in a narrative that remains resolutely realist, obstructing the exoticizing othering of magic realism.


Elechi Amadi, The Concubine, African novel, marriage, love, realism.

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