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Literature, Culture, and Thought in Africa: A Conversation with Abiola Irele

Abdul-Rasheed Na'Allah


Abiola Irele is clearly one of the leading African literary and cultural critics of our time. From achieving what in Nigeria was a pioneer feat of attending the nations premier university, the University College, Ibadan (UCI) at its earliest years, also attended by famous Nigerian writers, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and Christopher Okigbo (writers popularly called the Ibadan Boys), to being among the first set of African critics of modern Nigerian and African literature. As a student and an up-and-coming scholar, Irele was editor (1958-60) of The Horn, a journal that provided opportunity to the UCI students from virtually all disciplines to participate in the vibrant literary atmosphere developing then at Ibadan. Later on as Professor of French and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages at his Alma matter, now the University of Ibadan, Irele was in the forefront of the efforts to revise the French curriculum and ensure it reflected African culture and traditions and the literary aspirations of the students.

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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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