Kenyan Epic Novelist Ngugi:His Secular Reconfiguration of Biblical Themes

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This book focuses on one of Africa’s major novelists, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, who depicts and analyses many of the tensions associated with the colonization of East Africa by Europeans. A recipient of a Christianized education in Kenya, Ngugi became highly knowledgeable of both the Old and New Testament Scriptures and of inconsistencies between the political policies of foreign-controlled imperial administrations and their lip-service to Christian beliefs. Ngugi’s grievances with the Western world in its dealings with East Africa focus on three major issues: cultural intrusion, political domination, and economic exploitation. The chronological unfolding of these sequential matters is vividly portrayed in his novels.


“Dr. John Anonby’s elegant and insightful appraisal of the first six novels by contemporary Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o in terms of their reliance on biblical images, allusions, and archetypes is praiseworthy and valuable...” – (from the Foreword) Professor Deane Downey, Trinity Western University

“A fascinating read! Dr. Anonby’s keen insights into biblical literature, his cross-cultural Kenyan awareness and his love for Thiong’o’s literary works, provides the essential background to an accurate understanding of Ngugi’s novels ... Dr. Anonby’s book should be read by anyone interested in African history, politics and culture, for candid exposure to some of the rationale behind contemporary problems evident on the continent today." – Dr. Wilf Hildebrandt, Dean of Education and Director of Intercultural Studies, Summit Pacific College

“To write a book on Ngugi’s wa Thiong’o’s novels and his reconfiguration of biblical themes requires expertise of a person versed in the science of literary criticism together with an intimate knowledge of the contents of the Bible. Dr. Anonby is such a person ... This book skillfully traces Ngugi’s use of biblical motifs from his first novel, The River Between (1965), to his last, Matigari (1986).” – Professor Sven Soderlund, Regent College

Table of Contents

Foreword by Deane Downey
1. Messianic Motifs in The River Between
2. Deliverance Delayed: Weep Not, Child
3. From the Exodus to the Passion: A Grain of Wheat
4. Blight or Blossoms in the Promised Land: Ngugi’s Petals of Blood
5. Vanity Fair Revisited: Ngugi’s Transposition of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress in Devil on the Cross
6. Matigari: “The Gospel According to Ngugi”
Topical Index
Index of Proper Names

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