Things Fall Apart

by: Chinua Achebe

Suggestions for Further Reading

Further study Suggestions for Further Reading

Achebe, Chinua. Conversations with Chinua Achebe, ed. Bernth Lindfors. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1997.

Bernth Lindfors’s edited volume collects a large number of previously published interviews that numerous scholars and journalists conducted with Achebe. These interviews span a 33-year period of Achebe’s distinguished career, from 1962 to 1995.

Home and Exile. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Home and Exile collects three long essays in which Achebe examines colonialist images of Africa that continue to endure long after the apparent end of colonialism. Achebe also discusses the impact that Things Fall Apart and other signature African texts have had on such enduring images.

Ezenwa-Ohaeto. Chinua Achebe: A Biography. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1997.

Ezenwa-Ohaeto’s authorized biography of Achebe appeared in 1997 after nearly a decade in the making. Despite the subsequent appearance of numerous volumes on Achebe’s life and work, this biography remains the most authoritative account, written by an eminent Nigerian poet and scholar.

Gikandi, Simon. Reading Chinua Achebe: Language & Ideology in Fiction. Nairobi, Kenya: Heinemann Kenya, 1991.

Gikandi’s celebrated monograph on Achebe contains a series of nuanced essays on each of Achebe’s major works of fiction, from Things Fall Apart to Anthills of the Savannah. The book opens with an important essay on the links between the seemingly disparate concepts of “the novel” and “the nation.”

Iyasere, Solomon O., ed. Understanding Things Fall Apart: Selected Essays and Criticism. Troy, NY: Whitson Publishing, 1998.

Iyasere has put together a wide variety of texts that provides students with a nuanced understanding of the historical and cultural contexts necessary for a rich understanding of Achebe’s landmark novel. In additional to historical and anthropological accounts, Iyasere includes important selections that situate Things Fall Apart within African literary history.

Killam, G. D. The Writings of Chinua Achebe. London: Heinemann Educational, 1977.

This slim volume collects Killam’s essays on Achebe’s major works of fiction, both his novels and his short stories. Killam’s essays offer a useful commentary on the predominant aesthetic concerns that define Achebe’s writings.

Okoye, Emmanuel Meziemadu. The Traditional Religion and its Encounter with Christianity in Achebe’s Novels. New York: Peter Lang, 1987.

Okoye’s book provides students with a nuanced, in-depth discussion of how Achebe’s novels portray the ideological conflicts that arose between traditional Igbo religion and Christianity. Okoye draws on ethnographic and historical accounts of the Igbo to argue that Achebe’s depiction of this cultural and religious encounter is firmly grounded in reality.

Okpewho, Isidore. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart: A Casebook. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2003.

In this edited volume, Nigerian literary critic Okpewho has included a series of ten essays by other prominent Africanist literary scholars, as well as an interview with Achebe. Unlike Iyasere’s edited volume, Okpewho’s “casebook” does not provide historical and cultural context. Instead, this volume focuses on offering readers a wide range of interpretations of the novel.

Wren, Robert M. Achebe’s World: The Historical and Cultural Context of the Novels of Chinua Achebe. Washington, D.C.: Three Continents Press, 1980.

The explicit purpose of Wren’s study is to situate each of Achebe’s first four novels in its proper historical context. For each novel, Wren evaluates the relationship between the events of the plot with actual events in Nigeria’s colonial and post-independence history.