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.
Achebe, Chinua. “The Igbo World and its Art.” Hopes and Impediments: Selected Essays 1965–1987. Heinemann, 1988.
Adeoye, A. A. “The Fifth Stage (Beyond the Dirge of Ogun and Soyinka’s Romance with the Left)”. Kiabara Journal of Humanities vol. 11, no 3, 2005, pp. 155–175.
Adu-Gyamfi, Yaw. “Wole Soyinka’s ‘Dawn’ and the Cults of Ogun.” ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature vol. 28, no. 4, 1997, pp. 73–89.
Afolayan, Kayode. “Mythology, Aesthetics and Social Vision in Wole Soyinka’s Idanre.” The Performer vol. 12, no. 6, 2010, pp. 187–99.
Akporobaro, F. B. O. Introduction to African Oral Literature: A Literary-descriptive Approach. Princeton, 2004.
Alter, Alexandra. “Nnedi Okorafor and the Fantasy Genre She is Helping Redefine.” The New York Times. 6 Oct. 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/06/books/ya-fantasy-diverse-akata-warrior.html.
Asante, Godfried & Gloria Pindi. “(Re)imagining African Futures: Wakanda and the Politics of Transnational Blackness.” Review of Communication vol. 20, no. 3, 2020, pp. 220–28. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15358593.2020.1778072.
Bryce, Jane. “African Futurism: Speculative Fictions and ‘Rewriting the Great Book’.” Research in African Literatures vol. 50, no. 1, 2019, pp. 1–19. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2979/reseafrilite.50.1.01.
Chinweizu, Onwuchekwa Jemie & Ihechukwu Madubuike. Toward the Decolonization of African Literature. Fourth Dimension, 1980.
Christion, Valley. “Science-Fiction: Defining a Sprawling Genre.” The Artifice. 11 Nov. 2018. https://the-artifice.com/science-fiction-genre/.
Comaroff, Jean, & John Comaroff. “Occult Economies and the Violence of Abstraction: Notes from the South African Postcolony.” American Ethnologist vol. 26, no. 2, 1999, pp. 279–303. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/ae.1918.104.22.1689.
Delaney, Samuel. “The Mirror of Afrofuturism.” Extrapolation vol. 61, no. 1–2, 2020, pp. 173–84. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3828/extr.2020.11.
Dieke, Ikenna. The Primordial Image: African, Afro-American, and Caribbean Mythopoetic Text. Peter Lang, 1993.
Ebeogu, Afam. “From Idanre to Ogun Abibiman: An Examination of Soyinka’s Use of Ogun Images.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature vol. 15, no. 1, 1980, pp. 85–96. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/002198948001500108.
Emezi, Akweke. Freshwater. Grove, 2018.
Hamilton, Elizabeth. “Analog Girls in a Digital World: Fatimah Tuggar’s Afrofuturist Intervention in the Politics of ‘Traditional’ African Art.” Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art no. 33, 2013, pp. 70–9. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1215/10757163-2352821.
Jeyifo, Biodun. Wole Soyinka: Politics, Poetics and Postcolonialism. Cambridge U P, 2004. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3366/afr.2004.74.4.693.
Katrak, Ketu. Wole Soyinka and Modern Tragedy: A Study of Dramatic Theory and Practice. Greenwood, 1986. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/s0307883300014619.
Lawuyi, Olatunde. “Ogun: Diffusion across Boundaries and Identity Constructions.” African Studies Review vol. 31, no. 2, 1988, pp. 127–139. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/524422.
Layiwola, Dele. “The Philosophy of Wole Soyinka’s Art.” Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism 1996, pp. 19–42.
Mbiti, John. African Religions and Philosophy. Heinemann, 1969.
Niven, Alastair. “Elechi Amadi obituary.” The Guardian. 22 Aug. 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/aug/22/elechi-amadi-obituary.
Nwosu, Canice. Postmodernism and Paradigm Shift in Theory and Practice of Theatre. Eagleman, 2014.
Ofeimun, Odia. In Search of Ogun: Soyinka in Spite of Nietzsche. Hornbill House of the Arts, 2014.
Ogunba, Oyin. The Movement of Transition: A Study of the Plays of Wole Soyinka. Ibadan U P, 1975.
Okorafor, Nnedi. “Africanfuturism Defined.” Nnedi’s Wahala Zone Blog. 19 Oct. 2019, http://nnedi.blogspot.com/2019/10/africanfuturism-defined.html.
Okoro, Dike. “Futuristic Themes and Science Fiction in Modern African Literature.” Routledge Handbook of Minority Literatures, edited by Tanure Ojaide & Joyce Ashuntantang. Routledge, 2020, pp. 379–91. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429354229-34.
Osei, Elisabeth. “Wakanda Africa do you see? Reading Black Panther as a decolonial film through the lens of the Sankofa theory.” Critical Studies in Media Communication vol. 37, no. 4, 2020, pp. 378–90. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15295036.2020.1820538.
Rosenberg, Donna. World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics. 2nd edition. NTC, 1994.
Soyinka, Wole. Art, Dialogue and Outrage: Essays on Literature and Culture, edited by Biodun Jeyifo. New Horn, 1988.
Soyinka, Wole. Myth, Literature and the African World. Cambridge U P, 1976.
Soyinka, Wole. “Nobel Lecture 1986: This Past Must Address Its Present.” Cambridge University Press. 23 Oct. 2020. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/pmla/article/abs/nobel-lecture-1986-this-past-must-address-its-present/61C434CB0E32F1DB61C6E3F01EA6B087.
Squire, James & Barbara Squire. Greek Myths and Legends. Glencoe McGraw Hill, 1967.
Womack, Ytasha. Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture. Lawrence Hill, 2013.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Tydskrif vir Letterkunde
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.