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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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An Anthology of Criticism and Theory. As the essay that I wrote 20 years ago in commemoration of his 50th birthday clearly demonstrated, even at that age, he had already achieved this status.

Of what value is it? Esu therefore embodies the systemic orientation in terms of relationships between conventional order and disruption of this order, as described by Irele.

Writers now write without any in-depth critical engagement and scholarly labour in the literary sphere is no longer a quiet and prodigious enterprise of the type Irele signposted in African literature. 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 abiolz 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 response to the dilemmas and challenges of modernity in Africa and other parts of the developing world.

If I have not made Irele’s relocation in the late 80s from the Nigerian university system to the United States the locus of how he has in aabiola last twenty years resolved the tension in his work between the contending currents of integration and alienation, it is precisely because I have in mind the broad profile I have drawn here of the phenomenon of irepe commonality of alienation and dislocation. However, after returning to Lagos in to live with his father, he began to predominantly speak Yoruba and maintained it as his ethnic identification.


The tuft of his hair was just visible: He was a foremost interpretative ideologue of the Negritude literary movement. For the Negro-African, it is in the same measure that rhythm is embodied in the sense that it illuminates the spirit”. He aims to root African progress in the present and not in a romanticized past.

Tribute: Francis Abiola Irele (1936 – 2017)

In Paris, living at the Latin quarters, and living the life of the Left Bank intellectual, and immersed in the French intellectual tradition with its rayonnementits claim to universalist radiance, in an era of the great giants of 20th century French intellectual culture — Sartre, Roland Barthes, Claude Levi Straus, Simone De Beauvoir — Irele first encountered a sense of a global African tradition in his own study of Negritude.

Consider first what we may describe as the commonality, the banality even, of alienation and cognate forms of experience such as fragmentation, dissociation and dislocation in the last two decades. Needless to say, updating the first aspect relating to the contents of his intellectual production and professional interests is a much more straightforward affair and for this reason, it is that issue that I will first address in this short commemorative essay.

Transcultural and Scientific Implications. What we have now are nouveau scholars impatient in the race to become professors so that they can bask in the glow of the materialist halo it confers on them.

What is the significance of these ideas for science and philosophy? Echeruo, Obi Wali, and such others. It is vital to take note of both praise and criticism for the book, as well as descriptions of other books like it before Ralph Siu’s The Quantum and the Tao and after its publication, as presented in the Wikipedia page on The Tao of Physics.

Francis Abiola Irele

Baiola, after returning to Lagos in to live with his father, he began to predominantly speak Yoruba and maintained it as his ethnic identification. Certain movements and currents of local and global histories and advanced critical theory in the last few decades have made the possibility of this separation questionable. Twenty years later, and on the occasion of his 70th birthday, I would like to pay homage to this older friend, mentor ireoe compatriot by returning to that earlier essay to critically update two crucial aspects of the claims and projections that I made in the essay.


During the years of his formal education, he began to read more English literature. Art is the imaginative restitution of the fundamental network of relationships which exist between the various manifestations of this cosmic energy. These are, respectively, the very contents and substance of Irele’s work, and the epistemological rupture that seemed to have emerged in his work when that essay was written.

After moving to Lagos inhe began to speak Yoruba. For two years, he studied the French Language, and in proceeded to his abila at the University of Paris, the Sorbonne, from which he received his PhD in Eshu slept in a nut- At last he could stretch himself! 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 place 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.

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

A final example of abila phenomenon, possibly the most widespread: Standing up, he cannot look into the cooking pot. Skip to main content. For here was Abiola Irele, born of the Ora in what is now Edo State, but who felt, and chose to be Yoruba, immersed in its myths and its retinue of iconic signals. Salut, teacher, mentor, compatriot and friend! The expressions and manifestations of this phenomenon are so rampant and pervasive that one can only be selective in one’s enumeration of the abiolla.