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Inheriting the “Unfinished Business”: An Introductory Study of the Dictator Novel Set in Africa


Whereas so-called dictator fiction in Latin America is already established as a significant literary subgenre, it is only recently that an increasing number of studies have started to deal with its counterpart set in Africa. In fact, both inside and outside the postcolonial African continent, dictator novels have been written in several languages, including English, French, Arabic, and Kikuyu. One of the most outstanding achievements among recent studies of this kind of fiction is Magali Armillas-Tiseyra’s The Dictator Novel: Writers and Politics in the Global South (2019), which examines dictator novels in two different regions – Africa and Latin America – by using the keyword “Global South” to connect them with each other. After taking a genealogical overview of some dictator novels by both African and non-African authors, the present essay will critically investigate Armillas-Tiseyra’s argument in order to reconsider fictional African dictators depicted in contemporary novels, especially those written in English, from a global and transborder perspective. The aim of this essay is to clarify both the challenges and prospects of the current studies of this literary subgenre in/about Africa.