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Nkala’s Drums and the Voice of Death and the Power of Events
Library has been defined in many ways by which authors. Aboyade defines library as repository of knowledge and container of the wisdom of ages. He went further to say that the library links students to this wisdom.
The variety of human activities and needs gives rise to a plurality of language functions, among them communication. However, communication is so highly rated that for many this is not merely a function, but the key factor that defines the reality of language. This high rating of communication has important consequences. For example, the variety of functions tends to be reduced to forms of communication. On the other hand, it leaves language in an environment to function in anonymity and pure transparency, becoming a point of serious discussion only within academic linguistics. Among literary scholars, it is either ignored just as in the common usage or it is discussed under one theme or another of academic linguistics. Between these two extremes, however, lies a deep question as to what language is to literature. This is the question opened up in this paper; and it is postulated that an adequate account of the relation of language and literature may only be attempted within a theory of literature.
Fernando Pessoa has several fictional characters who are claimed to be the authors of various collections of poetry gathered under his name. In the criticism, these are often seen as figures substituted for himself, while the poems which are not attributed to any of these fictional characters are treated as his own direct speech actions without subterfuge. This is in line with the conventions that have been dominant in discussions of literature, either to start from the author or from what Edward Said calls the ‘social and economic outside facts’. With attention turned elsewhere, the literary work itself tends to figure as an instrument in the hands of the author for use in pursuing some purpose. In this paper, we are going to bring back the works into focus. Discourse analysis is helpful in doing this. It is also applied in this paper to help sharpen focus on the characters of discourse, their identities as discourse agents and the objects which exercise them, in order to achieve interpretation of the poems as discourse events.
Literature is studied in different ways and at different levels: as works, namely the productions of geniuses, or in Heidegger’s sense of made things, which at the same time share with natural things the sense of being by themselves and self-sufficient; literary works are also studied as part of cultural phenomena and part or even the expression of a cultural tradition. In certain historical reconstructions, they may also be discussed as milestones and representative portrayals of the ethos and sensibility of a period. Their study as things making up a class of phenomena which can be compared among themselves is another level which, like the approaches focusing on the work as a self-sufficient entity, calls for specific kinds of expertise. Originality as an artistic requirement may lead in the study of literature to emphasis on the unique and distinctive features, which are easily identified at the surface level, whereas comparative studies are in real terms a challenge to explore literary phenomena in depth for shared core values. In this paper, these shared values are sought in the poetic image, found to be involved in the identity of literary works qua poetry, and serve as a basis of comparative literary studies.
Wole Soyinka’s Season of Anomy is regarded by some as one of the masterpieces of African literature, but it presents challenges in reading, leading others, among them literary critics, to pronounce it a failure. There is therefore deep ambivalence over this novel, but it comes from the expectations with which the readers approach it. Literary works may share elements of structure, but that does not mean that they should all be read in the same way, with the same expectations. The history of criticism of African literature going back to the early 1970s has put in place a tradition in which literature is directly connected to the so-called social context as its referential and basis of intelligibility. In response, creative writing is increasingly in sync with this theory, and critics formed in this tradition expect each work to provide a window on that social context. It is taken in this article that this tradition of reading is the reason for the difficulty many have with Soyinka’s texts. Season of Anomy demands both close reading and application of heuristic devices from literary theory and criticism because it is indeed a literary work of art. The master narrative of the superman is applied here to motivate a literary analysis of the work. Opening up Season of Anomy in this way makes it apparent that we are dealing with a great work, deeply grounded in a tradition of art much older than the mid-20th-century theory of engagement, and not a failure of any sort.
Federico Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding is considered by some to be one of the representative dramas of modernism. Reading it, however, with an eye on the real event that is said to have inspired it or the features of the cultural world it arises from, as some of the readers have tried to do leaves it hanging and unexplained in some of its phases. The work is read in what follows as a drama of consciousness in which we are looking at a specific dimension of the functioning of consciousness, namely the making of symbols. This is a need related to the creation of a centre of orientation. This need is ever present, but especially in the face of traumatic and inchoate experiences. Ernst Cassirer’s philosophy of symbolic forms provides the tools applied here for the purpose of tracking the adjustments occurring in the consciousness of the Mother who is the chief sufferer of the traumas of this play, and who survives them in more than a physical way.
Dominantly, criticism of T.S. Eliot’s The Family Reunion has consisted of attempts to explain the play by referring it to some circumstance of the author’s personal history or an interest he has espoused at one time or another. The play has been discussed as a telling of the author’s own life by projecting and mediating it through one of the characters, usually the main character, Harry Monchensey. It has also been discussed as his comment on the situation of the old landed gentry, whose way of life is threatened from within and from without, and also upon the conditions of the times in which the play was first produced. Other critics have offered accounts of it as having been shaped by the author’s religious beliefs. The view taken in this paper is that recognizing the play as a work demands rather a criticism that focuses on the object as a totality and with the help of close reading to try and make out its organic structure. In this paper, the work is unfolded as a sequence of the pharmakon or pharmakos and it is argued that its movements derive from this principle, which also accounts for its total intelligibility.