Wole Soyinka’s The Road as an intertext

Keywords: The Road, intertextual relations, thematic significance, Wole Soyinka

Abstract

Studies on African drama have shown the influences and the intertextual relations between African drama and European (Classical and Elizabethan) plays. It is also a known fact that African drama exhibits traces of African tradition and instances of textual relations with already existing oral and written texts. However, existing studies on Wole Soyinka’s The Road have tilted towards the usual literary interpretation or as a piece of theatrical performance with little attention paid to the intertextual nature of the text. Based on the challenges of these usual approaches to the study of literature by contemporary literary and cultural theories, this study adopts intertextual theory as a framework to examine Wole Soyinka’s The Road as an intertext showing traces of textual influences from oral and written external sources. The aim is to reveal the source texts from which the playwright draws in the creation of the text and to show how these sources contribute to the overall thematic significance of the play. Findings reveal that Soyinka draws extensively from Yorùbá oral sacred texts, the Bible, and his own earlier texts and that these sources contribute to the eclectic nature of the thematic preoccupation of the play. It is hoped that this has gone a long way to mitigate the obscure claim of structural and thematic incomprehensibility with which the play is associated.

Author Biographies

Richard Oliseyenum Maledo, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria

Richard Oliseyenum Maledo is a lecturer in the Department of English and Literary Studies, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria. His research focuses in English linguistics and literary stylistics.

Emmanuel Ogheneakpobor Emama, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria

Emmanuel Ogheneakpobor Emama teaches in the Department of English and Literary Studies, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria. He is interested in the sociolinguistics of English and the New Englishes.

References

Adejare, Oluwole. Language and Style in Soyinka: A Textlinguistic Study of a Literary Idiolect. Heinemann, 1992.

Adelowo, Dada E. “Rituals, Symbolism and Symbols in Yorùbá Religious Thought.” AJT vol. 4, no. 1, 1990, pp. 162–173.

Allen, Graham. Intertextuality: The New Critical Idiom. Routledge, 2000.

Babalola, Adeboye. Ijala: a form of oral poetry in Nigeria. Lagos Federal Ministry of Information, 1963.

Dingome, Jeanne. “Soyinka’s The Road as Ritual Drama.” Kunapipi vol. 2, no. 1, 1980, pp. 30–41. https://ro.uow.edu.au/kunapipi/vol2/iss1/6.

Eagleton, Terry. Literary Theory: An Introduction. Minnesota U P, 2008.

Halliday, M. A. K. An Introduction to Functional Grammar. Arnold, 1985.

Izevbaye, Dan S. “Language and Meaning in Soyinka’s The Road.” African Literature Today: Drama in Africa vol. 8, 1976, pp. 52–6.

Jeyifo, Biodu. Wole Soyinka: Politics Poetics and Postcolonialism. Cambridge U P, 2004.

Jones, Eldred Durosimi. The Writing of Wole Soyinka. Heinemann, 1973.

Kristeva, Julia. “Word, Dialogue and Novel.” The Kristeva Reader, edited by Toril Moi. Columbia U P, 1986, pp. 34-61.

Katrak, Ketu H. Wole Soyinka and Modern Tragedy: A Study of Dramatic Theory and Practice. Greenwood, 1986.

Maledo, Richard Oliseyenum. “Structure and Meaning in Soyinka’s Works: A Case Study of The Road.” Journal of the Literary Society of Nigeria vol. 3, no. 1, 2010, pp. 130–40.

Oderinde, Olatunde Abosede. “The Lore of Religious Festivals among the Yorùbá and its Social Relevance.” Lumina vol. 22, no. 2, 2011, pp.1–12.

Ogude, Steve E. “Professor, The Word and the Problem of Meaning in Wole Soyinka’s The Road.” Journal of Literary Society of Nigeria vol. 1, 1981, pp. 56–66.

Ògúnba, Oyin. Movement of Transition: A Study of the Plays of Wole Soyinka. Ibadan U P, 1975.

Plett, Heinrich F. “Intertextualities.” Intertextuality, edited by Heinrich F. Plett. Walter de Gruyter, 1991, pp. 3–29.

Pouille, Adrien. “Ambivalent Relation with the Divine in Wole Soyinka’s The Road.” Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies vol. 39, no. 2, 2016, pp. 37–58. https://escholarship.org/uc/item/2m20r630.

Shamsi, Marzieh, Sohila Faghfori & Seyed Ali Booryazadeh. “Ritual/Carnival Performance in Wole Soyinka’s The Road.” Theory and Practice in Language Studies vol. 5, no. 9, 2015, pp. 1935–39. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17507/tpls.0509.24.

Soyinka, Wole. Wole Soyinka Collected Plays 1. Oxford U P, 1973

Soyinka, Wole. Idanre and Other Poems. Metheun, 1967.

Soyinka, Wole. The Interpreters. Fontana, 1972.

Soyinka, Wole. Myth, Literature and the African World. Cambridge U P, 1976.

Zengin, Mevlude. “An Introduction to Intertextuality as a Literary Theory: Definitions, Axioms and the Originators.” Pamukkale University Journal of Social Sciences Institute vol. 25, no.1, 2016, pp. 299–326.

Published
2020-07-22
How to Cite
Maledo, R. O., & Emama, E. O. (2020). Wole Soyinka’s The Road as an intertext. Tydskrif Vir Letterkunde, 57(2), 26-36. https://doi.org/10.17159/tl.v57i2.6617
Section
Research articles