International Journal of Literature and Arts

Special Issue

Illnesses, Diseases and Medicalisation in African Literature

  • Submission Deadline: Jun. 30, 2021
  • Status: Submission Closed
  • Lead Guest Editor: Dr Stephen Kekeghe
About This Special Issue
This issue will examine the representation of illnesses, diseases and disabilities in African literature (both in the oral and written dimensions). The focus of the study is on literary-diagnoses of pathological conditions, physical and mental. The aim of this study is to highlight how illnesses, physical and psychological conditions, manifest in people, the experiences of the sufferers and their relationship with physicians and care-givers. The essence of this is to humanise modern medical practice in Africa, through the instrumentality of literary imagination.
The study, which is anchored on the analysis of literary texts, argues that the imagination and exploration of human health conditions is a reflection of the social commitment of the writer, whose vision is to reorder society. As a way of conveying social reality, writers explore biological, socioeconomic and cultural dimensions of human health and medical practice. Literature and medicine, as an interdisciplinary study, shows the social function of literature which lies at the intersection of humanities, medicine and social sciences. Since illness and medical experiences are daily encountered in our society, writers’ exploration of such health conditions attests, significantly, to their consciousness of societal depravities and commitment for social and human improvement. For instance, in D. S. Sheriff’s essay, “Literature and Medical Ethics” (1988), he highlights the significance of literature in conveying human health experiences: “Literature is life. Literary classics present and confront us with the problems of daily human experience including medical ones” (688). Literature, given the humanism that informed its content, is characteristically realistic. This verisimilitude is not a mere reflection of social characters— it demonstrates significant suggestions for social improvement.
Therefore, since illnesses and diseases originate from the social space, they are socially constructed. Illness, as we have experienced in the society, usually reshape the identity of the patient or sufferer. A valid example is deafness, which can be a cultural identity. Social reality, which differs significantly from biological or individual cognitive reality, is evident in the creation and construction of social experiences through interaction with societal encounters. The creation of characters that suffer from pathologies— physical or mental— is a creative perspective that is anchored on social behaviours. The writer, in that sense, invented his ailing characters and the incident surrounding their health conditions from the society. The writer’s universe is constructed from the universe inhabited by people of life and blood.
Aims and Scope:
  1. Representation of physical illnesses, diseases and recuperation in written and oral literature in Africa
  2. Exploration of mental conditions and healing in African literature
  3. Depictions of Medical ethics in African literature
  4. African literature and psychotherapy
  5. African literature and rehabilitation
  6. African literature and physician-patient relationship
Lead Guest Editor
  • Dr Stephen Kekeghe

    Department of English, Faculty of Humanities, Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, Nigeria

Guest Editors
  • Dr Femi Eromosele

    Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

  • Sola Owonibi

    Department of English, Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo, Nigeria

  • Professor Emmanuel Babatunde Omobowale

    Department of English, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Published Articles
  • Psychological Response to Negative Paradoxical Metaphors of Terminal Illness in Promise Ogochukwu’s Sorrow’s Joy

    Joy Eyisi Jr , Emmanuel Babatunde Omobowale

    Issue: Volume 9, Issue 6, November 2021
    Pages: 251-260
    Received: Apr. 10, 2021
    Accepted: Oct. 16, 2021
    Published: Nov. 05, 2021
    DOI: 10.11648/j.ijla.20210906.11
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    Abstract: Creative writers wield literary tropes in exemplifying thoughts in the minds of characters. As literature is given impetus by the thoughts and actions of humans, the utilization of literary tropes in depicting preoccupations in the minds of characters is a reflection of the human mind, which harbours thoughts laden with these tropes, especially met... Show More
  • Autobiography and Scriptotherapy in Oluremi Obasanjo’s Bitter-Sweet and Funso Adegbola’s He Gave Me Wings

    Joseph Ajagunmolu Mayaki

    Issue: Volume 9, Issue 5, September 2021
    Pages: 225-233
    Received: May 27, 2021
    Accepted: Aug. 11, 2021
    Published: Oct. 05, 2021
    DOI: 10.11648/j.ijla.20210905.13
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    Abstract: This study investigates how autobiographical narratives enhance wellness, and it pays a specific focus on Oluremi Obasanjo’s Bitter-Sweet: My Life with Obasanjo and Funso Adegbola’s He gave Me Wings: Me and My Dad. The writers are two prominent Nigerian women. Both of them wrote about how a man’s influence significantly shaped their lives. While Ol... Show More
  • Dramatic Art, Medical Ethics and Rehabilitation: Patient-Centred Therapeutic Relationship in Omobowale’s The President’s Physician

    Stephen Kekeghe

    Issue: Volume 9, Issue 4, July 2021
    Pages: 177-182
    Received: May 10, 2021
    Accepted: Jul. 07, 2021
    Published: Jul. 24, 2021
    DOI: 10.11648/j.ijla.20210904.16
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    Abstract: Literature, over the years, has become a potent instrument in humanizing medical practice, which manifests in different forms. Scholars in the domains of literature and medicine have identified the significance of literary knowledge in clinical or medical experiences. From consultation, diagnoses and treatments, humanistic tools constitute the hall... Show More