Myth, Literature and the African World

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 13, 1990 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 168 pages
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Wole Soyinka, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature and one of the foremost living African writers, here analyses the interconnecting worlds of myth, ritual and literature in Africa. The ways in which the African world perceives itself as a cultural entity, and the differences between its essential unity of experience and literary form and the sense of division pervading Western literature, are just some of the issues addressed. The centrality of ritual gives drama a prominent place in Soyinka's discussion, but he deals in equally illuminating ways with contemporary poetry and fiction. Above all, the fascinating insights in this book serve to highlight the importance of African criticism in addition to the literary and cultural achievements which are the subject of its penetrating analysis.
 

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In this book, Soyinka talks about the total existence and the ideas that form the African cultural sentiments. Africa, a continent filled with different types of beliefs, varying from family beliefs to cultural and communal beliefs,places a lot of importance in the communication of truths--literature not for mere entertainment but for the communication of facts and truths.
Soyinka also reiterates the fact that African writers are not just a mere bunch of artists but a group of people who believe in the quality and the efficacy of these beliefs.
Caleb Adoh
University of Lagos
English Dept.
 

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Contents

Morality and aesthetics in the ritual archetype
1
Drama and the African worldview
37
Ideology and the social vision i The religious factor
61
Ideology and the social vision 2 The secular ideal
97
The Fourth Stage
140
Index
161
Copyright

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About the author (1990)

Wole Soyinka was born in Abeokuta, Ogun State of Nigeria on July 13, 1934. He attended Government College and University College in Ibadan before receiving a degree in English from the University of Leeds in England in 1958. He has held research and teaching appointments at several universities including the University of Ibadan, the University of Ife, Cornell University, Emory University, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Loyola Marymount. He is a distinguished playwright, poet, novelist, essayist, social critic, political activist, and literary scholar. His plays include The Swamp Dwellers, The Lion and the Jewel, A Dance of the Forests, The Bacchae of Euripides, A Play for Giants, Death and the King's Horsemen, From Zia with Love, The Beatification of Area Boy, and King Baabu. His collections of poetry include Idanre and Other Poems, A Shuttle in the Crypt, and Mandela's Earth and Other Poems. His novels include The Interpreters, which won the 1968 Jock Campbell Literary Award, and Season of Anomy. His autobiographical works include Ake: The Years of Childhood, Isara: A Voyage Around Essay, The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Memoir of the Nigerian Crisis, and You Must Set Forth at Dawn. His literary essays collections include Myth, Literature and the African World and Art, Dialogue and Outrage. During the civil war in Nigeria, he appealed for cease-fire in an article. Accused of treason, he was held in solitary confinement for 22 months. Two of his works, The Man Died: Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka and Poems from Prison, were secretly written on toilet paper and smuggled out of prison. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.

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