Biodun Jeyifo examines the connections between the innovative and influential writings of Wole Soyinka and his radical political activism. Jeyifo carries out detailed analyses of Soyinka's most ambitious works, relating them to the controversies generated by Soyinka's use of literature and theatre for radical political purposes. He gives a fascinating account of the profound but paradoxical affinities and misgivings Soyinka has felt about the significance of the avant-garde movements of the twentieth century. Jeyifo also explores Soyinka's works with regard to the impact on his artistic sensibilities of the pervasiveness of representational ambiguity and linguistic exuberance in Yoruba culture. The analyses and evaluations of this study are presented in the context of Soyinka's sustained engagement with the violence of collective experience in post-independence, postcolonial Africa and the developing world. No existing study of Soyinka's works and career has attempted such a systematic investigation of their complex relationship to politics.
Chronology; 1. 'Representative' and unrepresentable modalities of the self: the Gnostic, worldly and radical humanism of Wole Soyinka; 2. Tragic mythopoesis as postcolonial discourse - critical and theoretical writings; 3. The 'drama of existence': sources and scope; 4. Ritual, anti-ritual and the festival complex in Soyinka's dramatic parables; 5. The ambiguous freight of visionary mythopoesis; fictional and nonfictional prose works; 6. Poetry, versification and the fractured burdens of commitment; 7. 'Things fall together': Wole Soyinka in his own write.