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.
Biodun Jeyifo is Professor of English at Cornell University. He is the author of The Popular Travelling Theatre of Nigeria (1984) and The Truthful Lie: Essays in a Radical Sociology of African Drama (1985). He has written essays and monographs on Anglophone African and Caribbean literatures, Marxist cultural theory and colonial and postcolonial studies and has also edited several volumes on African drama and critical discourse.