Land, Freedom and Fiction

History and Ideology in Kenya

David Maughan-Brown
With a Foreword by Stephen Clingman

New Edition


A thought-provoking exploration of the Mau Mau uprising and its place in the literature and identity of Kenya.
This now classic work examines the contrasting ways in which the Mau Mau struggle for land and independence in Kenya was mirrored, and usually distorted, by successive generations of English and white Kenyan authors, as well as by indigenous Kenyan novelists. Against the turbulent background of the Mau Mau Uprising, Dr Maughan-Brown explores the relationship between history, literary creation and the myths that societies cultivate. Spanning the breadth of colonial and post-colonial African literature, his subjects range from the colonialist authors Robert Ruark and Elspeth Huxley to the post-independence novels of Meja Mwangi and Ngugi wa Thiong'o.

Maughan-Brown's book is invaluable on many levels. He presents a concise account of the uprising and its place in Kenyan identity, and significantly increases our understanding of settler attitudes and the role of literature within colonial ideology. Land, Freedom and Fiction succeeds in showing the subtle insights a materialist approach can bring to the study of literature, ideology and society. 

Author Bio

Professor David Maughan-Brown is the former Deputy Vice Chancellor of York St John University. Brought up in East Africa and educated in South Africa, he previously lectured in the Department of English at the University of Natal

Table of Contents

  • Preface and Acknowledgements
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. 'Mau Mau' as a Historical Phenomenon
  • 3. Kenyan Colonial Settler Ideology
  • 4. Nothing of Value: Colonial Fiction About 'Mau Mau'
  • 5. 'Plus ca Chamge...': Liberal Fiction from the Metropolis
  • 6. Economy, Politics and Ideology in Post-Independence Kenya
  • 7. Novels of the 'Freedom'
  • 8. Not Yet the Freedom
  • Bibliography


‘A book extraordinarily attuned to the impress of history, politics and ideology upon literature… This, in other words, is a major study, the kind that lasts.’
Stephen Clingman, from the Foreword


Publication Date: 15 June 2017
300 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback 2nd Edition: 9781786990143
Hardback 2nd Edition: 9781786990709
eBook ePub 2nd Edition: 9781786990112
eBook PDF 2nd Edition: 9781786990129
eBook Kindle 2nd Edition: 9781786990136

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