“DO YOU THINK I AM MAD?”: BETWEEN CONSCIOUSNESS, MADNESS AND CREATIVITY IN AFRICAN LITERATURE.
Department of English and Literary Studies,
University of Abuja, Nigeria.
Abnormality, in spite of its nuances, is positively tolerated, first by the writer, and second, by the audience in the domains of creativity. But as a label, tag or symbol of split personality, the imposition of “mental illness” on the writer by the audience is negatively repulsive, even as the writer is aware that all is not well with him. The African writer, in particular, is reluctant to admit to a relationship between mental disorder and creativity, when it comes to discussing personal works. This paper examines self awareness in relation to madness and creativity and concludes, using psychoanalytic theory that the African writer’s reluctance to admitting relationship between emotional disorder and creativity is more at the level of verbal public discourse. The nexus relationship between mental illness and creativity in written works such as Dambudzo Marechera’s Black Sunlight is unequivocally admitted.
Corresponding author: Owojecho Omoha, Department of English and Literary Studies, University of Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, GSM: 08033715102
Owojecho Omoha, former Head of Department of English, Yobe State University, Damaturu, Nigeria, holds a PhD in Literature in English from the University of Jos, Nigeria. He currently lectures at the Department of English and Literary Studies, University of Abuja, Nigeria.
I had written to two prominent African writers, in the course of doing my PhD thesis, to discuss symptoms of madness in their works. The response from the first was repulsive but ended thus: “Anyway, theses are built on theorisings and propositions, so I wouldn’t worry too much about...