This article examines the production of space in four early Anglophone and Francophone West African novels, reading Amos Tutuola's The Palm-Wine Drinkard (Nigeria, 1952), Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City (Nigeria, 1954), Mongo Beti's Mission terminée (Cameroon, 1957), and Cheikh Hamidou Kane's L'Aventure ambiguë (Senegal, 1961) alongside broader social, political, and economic spatial discourses from the 1950s and 1960s. By so doing, the article unpacks the articulated correspondences between literary space and its wider materiality in ways that are both explicit and implicit. Drawing on insights from human geography, this essay explores the extent to which the distinct spatial programs of the British and French empires manifest within Anglophone and Francophone West African writing in the years leading to independence, ultimately arguing that the latter displays a range of discrepant, horizontal formulations in contrast to the more monolithic, vertical spatiality of the latter.

You do not currently have access to this content.