The book reconsiders Soyinka’s contribution to the debate about African identity, exploring the various elements constituting his distinctive aesthetic and apprehension of African culture. It concentrates on his plays, his fiction and poetry and investigates his views on the relationship between myth, history, and modernity, primarily highlighting his conception of the nature of African post-colonial society and power. Also, the book looks at Soyinka’s exploration of the metaphysical aspects of evil, particularly as manifested in political violence, and, in addition, it examines his belief in the irrepressibility of the human desire to transcend any form of political, spiritual and social oppression. Finally, it argues that Soyinka’s major contribution to our understanding of contemporary African life and art lies in his attempts to move beyond the idea of identity as an opposition between Self and Other to a conception of identity in which such concepts are either themselves questioned or transferred to a different frame or language where they are made to signify differently.
Mpalive-Hangson Msiske lectures in English and Humanities at Birbeck College, University of London. Dr Msiska is himself Malawian and teaches post-colonial literature, including African literature among others. He is co-author of The Quiet Chameleon: A Study of Modern Poetry from Central Africa (1992) and co-editor of Writing and Africa (1997).
216 × 138 mm
October 1, 1998
Writers and their Work