The latest issue of Sight & Sound includes the forum Critics on Critics, in which film critics were asked to nominate a piece of writing that has inspired them in their own work. I was invited to participate, intended to, but unfortunately did not meet the deadline. Had I been able to, the following would have been my submission:
My people speak disapprovingly of an outsider whose wailing drowned the grief of the owners of the corpse. One last word to the owners. It is because our own critics have been somewhat hesitant in taking control of our literary criticism (sometimes – let’s face it – for the good reason that we will not do the hard work that should equip us) that the task has fallen to others, some of whom (again we must admit) have been excellent and sensitive. And yet most of what remains to be done can best be tackled by ourselves, the owners. If we fall back, can we complain that others are rushing forward? A man who does not lick his lips, can he blame the harmattan for drying them?
– Chinua Achebe, from the paper Colonialist Criticism
It is in the spirit of this challenge posed by Achebe that Criticine was started. And with renewed fervor that work on it begins again.
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