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Title: The theatre of Wole Soyinka : inside the liminal world of myth, ritual and postcoloniality
Author: Ilori, Oluwakemi Atanda
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2016
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Wole Soyinka was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986, the first African recipient of this honour, for his body of works covering plays, novels and poetry. Soyinka is also a literary and cultural theorist, a memoirist, and a social activist, known internationally for his campaign against tyranny and injustice. This and many other dimensions of his career as a man of letters, his cultural background and the postcolonial context in which he writes flow freely into his creative works. This study describes Soyinka’s theatre, based on eight major plays published between 1960 and 1996. This is the peak of Soyinka’s literary career and provides the most illustrative instances of the maturation of his art and thematic concerns. Using the selected plays as focal points, a critical appraisal of Soyinka’s characters and their cosmos, and the development of the key ingredients of his theatre is undertaken. It is argued that Soyinka’s theatre portrays a liminal world in which myth, ritual and postcolonialism are ascendant elements. The main framework for this argument is Barthes’s poststructuralism but other theorists apply as well, including Bhabha, Eco, Foucault, Hutcheon, Jeyifo, Jung, Kristeva, Levinas, Olaniyan, Turner, Van Gennep, Vermeulen and Akker, and Soyinka himself. Accordingly, this study opens new frontiers on Soyinka by delving into key concepts such as liminality, postcoloniality, modernism, postmodernism, metamodernism, abjection, “othering”, and intertexuality as they apply to Soyinka’s theatre. It features a wide-ranging discourse on Soyinka’s “fourth stage” as a form of applied dramatic theory in which the poetics of myth and ritual and the postcolonial distinctions of Soyinka’s theatre find congruence. Myth and ritual ensconce Soyinka’s dramatis personae in a way that prepares them for and, crucially, prevents them from overcoming the gulf between their personal volitions and the will of their community.
Supervisor: Pitches, Jonathan ; Gardner, Tony Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available