Speculative vertices, Ogun mythopoesis, and (the) fourth/further stage(s)
Keywords:Africanfuturism, speculative fiction, myth, mythopoesis, archetype, pantheon
Wole Soyinka’s seminal essay, “The Fourth Stage: Through the Mysteries of Ogun to the Origin of Yoruba Tragedy” which appears as appendix in his collection of critical essays, Myth, Literature and the African World (1976), has been read and critiqued as an important work of myth, mythopoesis, tragedy and the Yoruba pantheon. To date, no meta-critical study has yet treated the essay as essentially speculative fiction, or as an invented model or construct for variegated possible future applications, or even as an authentic African futuristic artistic invention. This is important in present times as a resurgence of earlier genres and trends populate the literary world, thereby raising the need for underpinnings, connections, projections, and conflations such as this article presents. With the application of archetypal author-, text-, and context-oriented theoretical modes alongside historicity, this essay navigates and re-interrogates “The Fourth Stage” and its numerous critiques in the contexts of Afrofuturism and Africanfuturism, finding it a practical model for African futuristic mytho-cultural and literary productions. I also through this essay expose the multiple areas of possible applications of such inventiveness in the reappraisal and re-interrogation of the problematics and maladies of the postcolony.
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