April 2008 • ISBN 978-1611490794 • $86.00
This book shows how Bessie Head used her engagement with sociopolitical issues to convey her ideas about the art of fiction and the operations of the creative imagination. It relates Head’s literary practice to goals that she set for herself as a “beginning” writer, and, in view of the importance that she attached to reading as a stimulant of the imagination, pays special attention to the influence of her reading on her writing. Head’s reading helped her both to define her role as a creative writer and to develop complex structures of meaning in her fiction. The book identifies correspondences between Head’s works and those of predecessors in Western scribal tradition and shows how she relates other traditions to her local oral tradition. It thus examines Head’s methods of combining thematic and imagistic elements, her delineation of character, her texturing of language, and other aspects of her literary practice.
About the Author
Joyce Johnson is an independent scholar.