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From Myth to Ideology: The Socio-political content of Soyinka's War Writings

From Myth to Ideology: The Socio-political content of Soyinka's War Writings

Abstract

From Myth to Ideology: The Socio-political content of Soyinka's War Writings SAGE Publications, Inc.1988DOI: 10.1177/002198948802300111 ChidiAmuta University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria Wole Soyinka' s controversial stature as an African writer and intellectual derives from certain contradictions inherent in both his stance on important socio-political questions as well as in his artistic mediation of contemporary African experience. At the level of social action and thought Soyinka could conveniently be regarded as a progressive idealist in the sense that his involvements in and utterances on specific social problems indicate a fervent preoccupation with social justice and an aversion to oppressive institutions. But as a literary artist much of his significant writing displays an unrelenting obsession with myth and its complex re-enactments through ritual. Consequently, while his consciousness is ultimately historical, his imagination and idiom of creative expression derive from a fundamentally mythic source and a religious sentiment. Says Stanley Macebuh: "Soyinka is, first and foremost, a mythopoeist; his imagination is, in a quite fundamental sense, a mythic imagination. "' Biodun Jeyifo puts the matter even more devastatingly: "Soyinka has a deep, abiding penchant for mythology, metaphysics and mysticism. "2 z Soyinka has complicated this ambiguity in his reputation by striving,
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