Chinua Achebe, Amherst MA, 1988
© Jerome Liebling Photography
by Stephen Clingman
EDITOR'S NOTE: In our Spring issue the
Massachusetts Review is honored to feature the
contributions to a recent symposium held at the
University of Massachusetts Amherst . . .
An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness,
an essay by Chinua Achebe
IN THE FALL OF 1974 I was walking one day from
the English Department at the University of Massachusetts
to a parking lot. It was a fine autumn morning, such as
encouraged friendliness to passing strangers. . . .
The West’s Most Undervalued Friend,
an essay by Chidi Achebe
GOOD AFTERNOON, EVERYONE. Very quickly, let me begin
by thanking the Chancellor, the Provost, Professor Clingman,
Professor Thelwell, Professor Chametzky, friends,
colleagues, the committee, all the departments, all the
colleges, everyone that came together to put this
conference together. . .
It is the Storyteller who makes us see what we are,
an essay by Caryl Phillips
I’D LIKE TO SAY a few things about Chinua Achebe,
which hopefully resonate somewhat with our title —
“It is the Storyteller who makes us see what we are.”. . .
A Tale of Two Books: A Forgotten Story and
Things Fall Apart, an essay by Chika Unigwe
IN THIS STORY, the girl has tightly plaited hair gathered
on top of her head in an intricate style and decorated
with a dozen multicolored baubles. It looks like a
miniature, brightly decorated Christmas tree. . . .
Unheard-of Things, an essay by Maaza Mengiste
THERE IS A SAYING in Ethiopia: when the one who will be
killed is in the presence of the killer, there is freedom.
In that moment, there is nothing left to lose. It is possible,
even, to do unheard-of things. . . .
Photo and Photo and Photo, a poem by Marianne Boruch
MUYBRIDGE. As if drugged, such staring
the world thought practically pornographic, what
with their skivvies mainly, and too much
workaday flesh. . . .
Charm, an essay by Marianne Boruch
Years ago I went with my son Will, a high school cellist,
to check out various music schools. We found ourselves in
a famous teacher’s studio, invited in to observe a lesson. . . .
Descartes, His Daughter, and Her Dog,
a story by Lynda Sexson
OF THE THINGS that may be doubted was a man named
Descartes who abandoned the study of letters to live among
the abattoirs on Kalverstraat. He packed home carcasses of
cows, like girls slung over his shoulder. . . .
And the Temple of Doom Town, an essay by Matt Salyer
I AM GOING TO HAVE a good day. I can tell. At zero-six, a
bone of moon still hangs in runnels of sun. I linger in the
enlisted smoking area with a South African colonel. We talk
about daughters and wars and airport novels, our
Kiplingesque “politics of Loaferdom". . . .