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Wole Soyinka, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature and one of the foremost living African writers, here analyses the interconnecting worlds of myth, ritual and literature in Africa. The ways in which the African world perceives itself as a cultural entity, and the differences between its essential unity of experience and literary form and the sense of division pervading Western literature, are just some of the issues addressed. The centrality of ritual gives drama a prominent place in Soyinka's discussion, but he deals in equally illuminating ways with contemporary poetry and fiction. Above all, the fascinating insights in this book serve to highlight the importance of African criticism in addition to the literary and cultural achievements which are the subject of its penetrating analysis.
Preface; 1. Morality and aesthetics in the ritual archetype; 2. Drama and the African world-view; 3. Ideology and the social vision (1): the religious factor; 4. Ideology and the social vision (2): the secular ideal; Appendix: the fourth stage; Index.