Continuities and reconstructions in cross-cultural literary transmission. The case of the Nigerian romance novel

Wendy Griswold, Misty Bastian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Contending that current theories of cross-cultural transmission are inadequate, this study examines the reconstruction of the Western romance novel formula by Nigerian authors. It finds that some elements of the Western formula, such as the characterization of the female protagonist, are continuous with the Western model, while others are radically changed. For example, while Western romances center on a single love interest and 'end happily ever after', Nigerian romances often involve the protagonist in several love affairs, and may have inconclusive or tragic endings. By analyzing such changes and continuities of various aspects of the romance formula, the study concludes that hegemony theories can explain the initial market penetration of the formula in Nigeria and its physical format, modernization theories can account for the emergence of a readership interested in female-centered love stories, and the persistence of an oral tradition as a story-telling structure can explain the narrative structure of sequential romances and open endings in many of the Nigerian romances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-351
Number of pages25
JournalPoetics
Volume16
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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