Abiola Irele’s collection of essays, first published in , has established itself as a classic study of modern African literature, its oral traditions, and its cultural. AT age 70, Abiola Irele’s presence in the world of African letters and, more generally, in African intellectual circles, is a commanding, venerable one. As the . The African Literature Association regrets to announce the death of Professor Francis Abiola Irele, 17th president of the association (), and.

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Tribute: Francis Abiola Irele ( – ) – Vanguard News Nigeria

Skip to main content. He was best known as the doyen of Africanist literary scholars worldwide.

In his intellectual forays into this Hegelian-Marxist conception of a positive, potentially transformative view of an embrace of alienation, Irele had presumed that one could and ought to make a distinction between it and an altogether different and wholly negative and crippling form of alienation.

It soon fell upon Abiola Irele and J. It is just that with all the memories crowding in, it is hard to know where to start and when to stop.

Next Post Rotary distributes artificial limbs. In the years since that essay was published, Irele has considerably developed ideas on the continuities and reconfigurations between orality and written African literature that powered that essay on Fagunwa, Tutuola and Soyinka.

He is also stating that these ideas are pervasive across what I will call ‘pre-modern’ cultures, though I’m m not sure yet how to define these cultures. How may one proceed?

Abiola Irele dies at 81

The scientific historian Alan Beyerchen has remarked that the integration of linear science with the nonlinear in a unified field of what he calls pan-science has now become one of the major intellectual tasks of the future”. He throws a stone today and kills a bird yesterday! His work in Negritude is best understood in relation to the range of his abioal of the intellectual, artistic and social dynamics of African culture, in relation to its global context.

At 70, Irele continues to be extraordinarily productive and there is not the slightest sign of slowing down on account of age. However one chooses to approach the matter – and this is not the context in which to examine the problem in any detail – what cannot be denied is the continuing relevance and deepening of the large-scale historical and social forces which pushed Irele in the first place to make allowance for the possibility of a “beneficial”, chastening embrace of alienation as a irels to the dilemmas and challenges of modernity in Africa and other parts of the developing world.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Remember me on this computer. What Irele has in mind is a synthesis between classical African thought, science and various disciplines, mediated through the image of Esu. The beauty of the quotation might be a demonstration of Irele’s jrele grounding in French as a professor of Abiopa, the quality of translation being vital irelle communicating the beauty of ideas transported from another language: Got to spend some time with Biola this afternoon in Cambridge and gave him a copy of my Ife book.


Francis Abiola Irele | W. W. Norton & Company

It interrogates major African literary texts and writers. I think it was not so much Irele’s relocation to the United States in the late 80s in itself but his encounter with Africanist and other postmodernists and the tremendous intellectual influence that they wielded that led to his tactical retreat from the embrace of a limited, minimal and “beneficial” mode of alienation in the mids. One of the justifications for this radical critique is the assertion that every one of these foundationalist rubrics has been used in the past to exclude and divide peoples in order to dominate, exploit and dehumanize.

Francis Abiola Irele commonly Abiola Irele22 May — 2 July [1] was a Nigerian academic best known as the doyen of Africanist literary scholars worldwide.

Why is it possible? If it is impossible to overstate how much work Irele and I are putting into this project, it is obligatory for me to state here that the initiating ideas for the project were Irele’s, not mine, and that he brought me in as co-editor in order to krele such an important project under the collaborative supervision of two scholars who come from different generational cohorts and perhaps reflect diverse ideological and intellectual sympathies.

Research in African Literatures. His association with cosmic force establishes the ideas of an order that unifies all of existence, particularly since ase, cosmic force in Yoruba cosmology, is understood as demonstrated in all forms of being, enabling their creative capacity. He was a foremost interpretative ideologue of the Negritude literary movement. Has Irele’s work in the last two decades swung decisively in one direction or has he forged a synthesis between the two currents?

Irele was a buoyant spirit and his language was clear. Born May 22,in Ora, he moved to Enugu very early in his life. Of the former, one of the most important elements pertains to the issue of orality and its connection to written African literature in particular and, more generally, modernist African intellectualism.

Immediately after graduation, he went to Paris to learn French and completed a Ph. Clark left as editor, Irele became the second editor of what has abioal gone down in Nigerian cultural history as possibly the most important students Poetry magazine, the publication of whose students verse was one of the earliest harvests of a poetry tradition in modern Nigeria.

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Put simply and directly, is Irele still enthusiastic or sanguine in his “praise of alienation”? At abila forefront of contemporary science, the universe is no longer seen as a machine composed of elementary building blocks.

His career was striking for the scope of his participation in the development of modern African intellectual culture, from its formative years in the s to the present, on different continents.

His book, The African Imaginationpublished by Cambridge, and now a classic of the field, among the many works he rendered, places Irele at the heights of the modern African canon. Transcultural and Scientific Implications.

Meanwhile, it must be acknowledged that this indirect encounter has had a most salutary effect on Irele’s work of the period precisely by making him to rethink carefully and productively the arguments of his earlier work with regard to the things that link Anglophone and Francophone, oral and written in the literary and cultural experiences of the Black peoples of Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Disclaimer Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof. The interests and research agendas that indicate a movement into new, perhaps seminal grounds in Irele’s work in the last two decades are equally impressive. This effect is realised in terms of diction and the balance of ideas, the words in terms of which ideas are expressed and the relationship between these worlds within the rhythm of syntactic structure.

Its magazine, the Black Orpheuswith its editorial committee scattered by the conflict was in disarray. When he is angry,he sits on the skin of an ant. It was a time of great optimism. Michael 1 January Perhaps in time Irele will frontally engage the postmodernists, since his work of the last two decades everywhere shows that it is haunted by them, especially with regard to their influence.

It says much that an intellectual of the highest order like Abiola Irele can remain utopian at the age of seventy – without apologies and without naivety. The emergent or contemporary writers no longer have critics committed to interpreting their works to the larger reading world and spurning out novel cultural and critical theories by so doing.

A Conversation with Abiola Irele”. This was Achebe’s testy riposte to foreign critics who had insinuated that he had a larger readership abroad than at home. In that case, what we should perhaps do is reformulate the issues completely.