de Bruijn, Esther

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    Coming to terms with new ageist contamination: cosmopolitanism in Ben Okri's "The famished road"
    (Indiana University Press, 2007) de Bruijn, Esther
    The paper refutes Douglas McCabe's essay "'Higher Realities': New Age Spirituality in Ben Okri's The Famished Road" for its injudicious attack on Okri as a New Ageist and "detraditionalizing perennialist" whose novel The Famished Road purportedly reinforces cultural imperialism and global capitalism. The paper reveals that McCabe's primary intention is to indict Okri for the latter's supposed misappropriation of the traditional abiku narrative and that McCabe's imputation of The Famished Road relies on evidence from without, rather than within, the novel itself. The paper goes on to consider Okri's suffusion of spirituality in the novel as a means of imparting an "enchanted" history. It suggests that notions of cosmopolitanism, in Anthony Kwame Appiah's sense, pervade the text and that characters like Dad and the Photographer can offer insight into individual attempts to manage the various, contesting ontological systems at play in an African culture.