The Seeds of the Series: Chinua Achebe and the Educational Publisher
Certain aspects of Chinua Achebe’s work align with Jacque Derrida’s compressed thought in the epigraph above. Achebe’s project has been described as affirmative in ways that clearly set it apart from, or put it at variance with, Derrida’s deconstruction. However, a glance through the lens of Derrida’s singular proposition above may in fact unveil a new dimension of Achebe’s work, namely: that the mythical or traditional ethos of Achebe’s novels are not incompatible with a material theory of production if only we can uncover their actual points of incarnation in material life. These points of incarnation can be located in the multiple pedagogical functions of the texts, as well as within the simultaneously diffused and underlying ideology that define Achebe’s artistic philosophy, functions that are equally incarnated in the institutional instruments of textual production, which sometimes operate through and are piloted by the author function. Pedagogical relations and functions reside in the confluence of ideas, models, structures, and bodies. On the basis of this proposition, the novels as an aesthetic exploration of the career of the book in Africa, as well as the author’s publishing relationships, can certainly be brought altogether within the grid of a material theory of literary production, but more importantly, these relationships as properties of texts could be seen as consisting ultimately in literary form as an advance consciousness that prefigures, and to some extent preconfigures, ideologies of production and the relations they engender.