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Abiola Irele's The African Imagination: Writing at Degree Zero

Sanya Osha


The writer, Roland Barthes says in Writing Degree Zero, inherits a social language that goes a long way in defining his thematic concerns and mode of signification. In a situation where the writer has no substantial fund of scripted social discourse but oral traditions abound, an enormous problem arises as to the mixing of oral and literate legacies. The delicate balancing skills needed to operate the two traditions of orality and literacy are often the causes of a crucial tension in modern African thought and discourse and the modes of address this enduring problematic elicits. The mutual engagement and disengagement of both oral and textual forms of expression within the same nexus is essentially constituted along the margins of high theory where the reproduction of texts by texts has been a predominant principle.

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

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