A bibliography of secondary sources on Wole Soyinka, 1988-1990: a work in progress.

Author:Gibbs, James


I began to put collect this material when those interested in keeping up-to-date with critical writings and with coverage of Wole Soyinka's publications, productions, activities, statements etc., etc., relied on time-tested, labour intensive, now barely imaginable and out-of-date methods. We gathered press cuttings, pestered supportive friends, relations and colleagues, and travelled; we visited libraries, archives and high commissions. It was a time when the printed word was the main source of information and when West Africa was the eagerly awaited, regional 'journal of record'. Dear dead days, unknown to many; almost beyond recall.

This list is one file from a series that dates from BPC--Before the Personal Computer. It goes back to the time before Word Processing programmes and the Internet transformed the lives of students, critics, researchers and bibliographers. The file from which the text below has been pruned and printed has existed in several word processing programmers and on generations of PCs. In returning to it during 2013/ 2014--and in using on-line resources now available to resolve, or try to resolve, queries, I became acutely aware of inconsistencies and shortcomings. I am, however, content for this 'virtual document' to be transformed into hard copy, because, despite short-comings, I hope it will go out into the material world, prove of some use for the present and show the need for something more extensive in the future.

The document will, I hope, remind those interested in Soyinka of the need for comprehensive and systematic collections of relevant material including Soyinka's Papers. Thanks to individual initiatives and generous support some collections have been set up and are open to researchers. These include the Brotherton Library at Leeds, which holds the Martin Banham Papers, and, Harvard University Library that reflects the passionate interest of Henry-Louis Gates Jnr. The existence of these repositories is reassuring--and, since they provide both resources and points of possible growth, challenging.

The list below is presented here in order to draw attention to the need for a venture that will do justice to the significance of Soyinka's work. In that spirit, I would like to reflect on the many wonderful collaborators who have helped me, and to mention particularly Martin Banham, Femi Ilesanmi and Bernth Lindfors. Their willingness to share has been inspirational, and they already have 'monuments'--if we know where to look! To their names I would add that of Anja Oed who arranged for the hosting of Soyinka bibliographical material at www.jahnbibliothek.ifeas.uni- mainz.de/390_ENG_HTML.php

The possibility of establishing a Soyinka Archive at Abeokuta has been mentioned and that would seem to be a very promising initiative. The project should be thought through, set up, supported and enjoyed.

In the meantime, I welcome suggestions about how the fragment below can be made more useful.

James Gibbs jamesgibbs (at) btinternet.com. December 2014

Abbreviations Used

ALAB--African Literature Association Bulletin

ALT--African Literature Today

ANA--Association of Nigerian Authors

ANAR--Association of Nigerian Authors 'Review

BALE--Black African Literature in English, a k a Lindfors' Bibliography, a series of volumes covering different years,

BL--Bernth Lindfors, see BALE

CANR--Contemporary Authors New Revised Series (Detroit)

CEAfr--Cahiers d'Edudes Africaines (Paris)

C E and S--Commonwealth Essays and Studies

ComQ--Commonwealth Quarterly

DAI--Dissertation Abstracts International

EACLALS--European Association for Commonwealth Language and Literature Studies.

ECOWAS--The Economic Community of West African States, a regional group of West African countries. Founded 1975.

EJOLLS--Ekpoma Journal of Language and Literary Studies (Ekpoma, Nigeria)

FRSC--Federal Road Safety Corps

GLS--Guardian Literary Series (Lagos)

LHU--Literary Half-Yearly (Mysore)

LC--Library of Congress

Lang and S--Language and Style (Flushing NY).

MLA--Modern Language Association

OSRSC--Oyo State Road Safety Corps

PAWA--Pan-African Writers' Association (based in Accra)

RAL--Research in African Literatures.

RELS--Review of English and Literary Studiers (Ibadan)

RSC--Road Safety Corps

SAP--Structural Adjustment Programme

WAACLALS--West African Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies Journal. (Short-lived, Canadian financed--I believe.)

WLT--World Literature Today

YWES--Year's Work in English Studies

Z-A--Zaire-Afrique (Kinshasa)


Note: The Anons are listed in chronological sequence and provide an introduction to some of the main public engagements of the year.

Anon. "Soyinka on Military Rulers." Weekly Review (Nairobi), 6 May 1988, pp. 34-35. (Speaks at Lagos conference.)

Anon. "Cocktail Circuit". The Guardian (Lagos), 15 May 1988, B 3. (Columnist relates how Vera Ifudu introduced Soyinka and Chinweizu. Soyinka said: "So, you are the Chinweizu."

Chinweizu replied: "So you are the Wole." The exchange continued: Soyinka: "You must take the time to study literature seriously." Chinweizu: "Maybe another kind of literature.")

Anon, with photo by Bayo Ewuoso, in The Guardian, 6 July 1988. Shows Soyinka with Michael Manley, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Obasanjo, and Alex Ibru, publisher of The Guardian at Obasanjo's farm on 5th--for 5th Anniversary of the foundation of the newspaper.

Anon. "Soyinka blasts critics." Daily Times (Lagos), 18 August 1988, pp. 8-9. (Soyinka interviewed on Oyo State TV 'Viewpoint' programme. Said he had decided to serve the present administration because of the democratic stance and its commitment to move to civil rule programme. Also said he regarded criticisms of his position as 'parochial and self-centered', and observed that 'the soul of the average Nigerian is corrupt.')

Anon. "Soyinka calls for prison watch committee." Daily Times (Lagos), 19 August, 1988, p. 13. (Note unresolved overlap with entry above and variation in context. Statement made when answering questions in Ogun Television's 'Hot Seat'.)

Anon. "Who is Pulling Soyinka Down." African Concord (Lagos), 21-27 October 1988, p. 7. (On allegations of financial irregularities in Soyinka's administration of the RSC.)

Anon. "Search for Dele's killers gets boost." Daily Times (Lagos), 20 December 1988, p. 1. (Soyinka spoke at a function to mark the second anniversary of the death of Dele Giwa.)

Abiola, Adetokunbo. "Wole Soyinka's Afrocentrism." National Concord (Lagos), 28 July 1988, p. 3. (Pompous and largely incomprehensible 'contribution' to the Chinweizu Debate.)

Adebowale, Yemi. "The Way Out." Newswatch, 2 November 1998. (Reports on October 1998 press conference, and on October 16th warning in lecture.)

Adekambi, Dotun. "Are Nigerians happy wasters." Daily Times, 8 October 1988, p. 7. (Response to Raufu, on controversy between Soyinka and Sowande about RSC matters.)

Agu, Ogonna. "Soyinka won't be left alone." The Guardian, 6 July 1988, p.13. (A very confused article which makes references to Soyinka's involvement with road safety--initially in Ondo (sic) State, the alleged radio station hold up 'on the eve of an election like a fanatic for democracy...' Should be Oyo not Ondo.)

Aina, Wale Akin. "Tempest in a Tea Cup." African Guardian, 5 September 1988, p. 15. (Dispute between Soyinka and Obasanjo.)

Ajayi, Wale. "Sowande's open letter to Soyinka." Vanguard, 14 May, 1988, p.6. (Defends Soyinka against Sowande's suggestion that he 'had given way to the politician in him' by accepting the (Government) RSC post. Also defends Soyinka against Sowande regarding a controversial cartoon and his remarks about SAP.)

Ajibola, V O A. Akinniola Keynote Reviews on 'The Lion and the Jewel'. Ibadan: Akin Akinniola Associates, 1988. (Study aid.)

Akerele, Olu. "Wole Soyinka sings at Nicon Noga Hilton Hotel." Sunday Concord (Lagos), 12 June 1988, pp 1, 10. (Report on Soyinka singing with 'Babs'; songs included "Taxi Driver" and "Mona Lisa"; refers to a lobster dinner; names others present; quotes Soyinka on Chinweizu: 'This man lives on Wole Soyinka ... I don't reckon with him at all.' Refers to Soyinka's address to RSC 'corpers' given earlier in the day. This report provoked a reply from, I think, Ogunbiyi, and contributes to the Chinweizu Debate--they had recently met for the first time. See above. JG)

Alegbe, Obi, Okey Ndibe, Jide Adeniyi-Jones, Paul Nwabuikwu, Debo Adesina, Appah Ekpein and Chima Eweama. "Soyinka's New Saddle." African Guardian, 21 March 1988, pp. 13-19. (Soyinka takes charge of FRSC.)

Aliyu, Abdu. "An Open Letter to Wole Soyinka." National Concord (Lagos), 26 April 1988, p. 3. (On his appointment as Chairman of the FRSC.)

Allen, Sture. "Introduction to Wole Soyinka's Nobel Lecture, 8 December 1986." BALF, 22 (1988), p. 427.

Amatokwu, Nwaokedi. "Soyinka's Agnostics." Times International, 17 October 1988, p.23. (His critics do not leave him in peace.)

Amosu, Timothy. "Sociology and the Translator: Soyinka in Translation." Babel (Amsterdam), 34, 3 (1988), pp. 141-151. (On French translations of The Strong Breed, The Swamp Dwellers and The Trials of Brother Jero.)

Amuta, Chidi. "From Myth to Ideology: The Socio-political Content of Wole Soyinka's War Writings." The Journal of Commonwealth Literature (Oxford), 23, 1 (1988), pp. 116-129.

Arinze, Dozie. "Silencing the Critics." The Guardian (Lagos), 21 March 1988, p. 9. (Government should appoint critics to Government posts.)

Awonifa, Michael. "Ake: The Years of Servitude." National Concord, 7 July 1988, p 7. (A report on a visit to Abeokuta, and of encounters with those who knew Soyinka and his mother. One informant said: 'Book has turned him into something else.')

Ayeni, Olugbenga. "A New Line in Leadership." West Africa (London), December 5-11 1988, p. 2279. (Describes Soyinka's participation in high-level discussions about Africa's leadership problems; records his reference to Ngugi, who, he said, documented the nationalist struggle and...

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