James F's Reviews > Myth, Literature and the African World

Myth, Literature and the African World by Wole Soyinka
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really liked it
bookshelves: nobel, prize, winner, politics, literature, secondary, works, african

A general discussion of African literature by the 1986 Nobel Prize winner in Literature. The first chapter, "The ritual archetype", analyzes the mythology and ritual of Yoruba religion, and how it reflects a different world-view than European (both pagan and Christian) mythology. The second chapter, "Drama and the African worldview", deals with tragedy (Soyinka is best known as a playwright.) He compares instances of African and Afro-Brazilian plays based on the Yoruba mythology, and then gives a general account of the development of drama from ritual in Africa, relating it to Nietzsche's account of the development of Greek tragedy. The core of the book is two chapters on "Ideology and the social vision", which analyze a selection of African novels and the way they come to grips (or fail to) with the problem of creating or recreating an African culture after colonialism, trying to avoid both European intellectual domination and a romanticised "Negritude". The book ends with an earlier essay on mythology as an appendix. For such a short book there is much interesting thought and analysis and I learned a great deal about the intellectual currents of contemporary Africa. I was impressed by Soyinka's approach to political questions. Unfortunately, I have only read one of the works which he analyzes, so it was difficult to judge his opinions, but this has inspired me to look out for more contemporary African literature, and particularly to want to read some of his own plays.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
February 4, 2015 – Shelved as: nobel
February 4, 2015 – Shelved as: prize
February 4, 2015 – Shelved as: winner
February 4, 2015 – Shelved
February 4, 2015 – Shelved as: politics
February 4, 2015 – Shelved as: secondary
February 4, 2015 – Shelved as: works
February 4, 2015 – Shelved as: african
February 4, 2015 – Shelved as: literature

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