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Conversation with Biodun Jeyifo

Akin Adesokan


Biodun Jeyifo, Professor of English at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, who turned 60 on Thursday, January 5, periodically teaches a graduate course titled "Marxism and Postcolonial Discourse." One of the texts on the reading list for the course is a fine play, Translations, by the Irish dramatist, Brian Friel. The play about the administrative aspects of English colonialism in Ireland is exceptional in many ways, but one of its greatest delights is a character called Hugh, a school-teacher who habitually lists three points—A, B, and C—on which he will speak to his students. However, by the time he is done, Hugh only manages to take his listeners from Points A to B, while the third point languishes forgotten in the jumble of his perorations. Jeyifo, or "BJ" as he is popularly addressed by colleagues and friends in Nigeria, the UK, and the US, was self-deprecating enough to compare himself to this character once but with a difference: he would often tell the class, 'This is the final point I have to make', but fifteen minutes later he would still be going strong, and after that there would be yet another "final, final" point to make.

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

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