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"Contradiction is Our Only Hope": Soyinka and BJ

Usoma Esonwanne


Over several decades, Biodun Jeyifo (BJ) has framed his scholarly career around Wole Soyinka. Whether celebrating Soyinka as a titan of modern African drama and theatre, taking him to task for dehistoricizing the historical confrontation on which Death and the Kings Horseman is based, mapping his distance from and proximity to postmodernism, or casting him as simultaneously mythopoeist and mythoclast, Jeyifo has construed his subject as a contradictory and complex intellectual who, as he puts it in his Introduction to Conversations with Wole Soyinka, simultaneously speaks from a separate earth and to our common Earth (xix). What has made Soyinka so compelling a figure for Jeyifo? What might his portrait of the writer disclose of himself as a critic? Why should we remind ourselves, on Jeyifos 60th birthday, of the nature and significance of this relationship between two of Africas most prominent intellectuals?

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, Tejumola Olaniyan and Olufemi Taiwo; Book Editor: .

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