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Title: Responses to history : the re-articulation of post-colonial identity in the plays of Wole Soyinka and Derek Walcott 1950-1976
Author: De Mel, Fyona Neloufer Sharain
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 1990
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The thesis will discuss the plays of the Nigerian Wole Soyinka and St.Lucian Derek Walcott as sites in which the playwrights are engaged in a dialogue with their colonial history, and in response to its impositions, re-• articulate post-colonial identities. Soyinka and Walcott have been chosen as case studies of the post-colonial re-articulation of identity because they offer two important broad options available to the post-colonial today. Soyinka has recourse to a viable indigenous Yoruba culture which he posits as an alter/native tradition to the coloniser's. Walcott on the other hand, the victim of a far more deracinated saga, feels he has no such "native" tradition to recoup, and re-writes the history of the Caribbean through European metaphors. The thesis will show however that although the playwrights re- articulate their identities in radically different ways, their strategies for doing so are less divergent than they appear at first. Both Soyinka and Walcott negotiate their post-coloniality from within the coloniser's own discourse, with the references and paradigms of the European "Centre". In marking this, the thesis points to the fact that their work reflects the contradictions that constitute post-coloniality itself, for by challenging the coloniser's impositions of colonial identity through the coloniser's discourse they affirm that which they deny and deny that which they affirm, rehearsing the contradictions and complicities their post-colonial identities are predicated on. The thesis is in two parts. Part 1 begins with a general introduction to both playwrights in which their autobiographies Ake and Another Life are looked at to situate them in the context of their personal and larger histories. Chapters 2, 3 and 4 deal specifically with Soyinka. Myth, Literature and the African World is discussed as a site in which Soyinka is engaged in a de-colonizing project, constructing paradigms from the Ogun myth for the benefit of both a wider English speaking/reading audience and "alienated" African, after which A Dance of the Forests, The Strong Breed, Death and the King's Horseman and The Bacchae are read as texts which illustrate the paradigms constructed in Myth. Part 11 deals with Walcott. Chapter 5 discusses Walcott's essays on history against other articulations of identity such as Black Power, and his use of the Crusoe story as a paradigm for the West Indian experience is analyzed. Chapters 6, 7 and 8 discuss Henri Christophe, Sea at Dauphin, Ti- Jean and His Brothers and Dream on Monkey Mountain as plays informed by Walcott's central concerns on the nexus of history and identity in the West Indies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available