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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He aims to root African progress in the present and not in a romanticized past.

Francis Abiola Irele | W. W. Norton & Company

For instance, after the publication of the landmark two-volume Cambridge History of African and Caribbean Literatures that Irele co-edited with Simon Gikandihe is at work on an omnibus abilla anthology on the African novel for Cambridge University Press. Clark left as editor, Irele became the second editor of what has now 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 ire,e in modern Nigeria.

Physical space and biology- the house and yard are too constricting for him but the groundnut shell allows him enough space to stretch himself Biology, physical space and corporeal vision- he is so tall that walking on the path the tufts of his hair are barely visible Lying down, his head hits the roof: Up till a few weeks ago, he was still working on yet another number of his top quality journal, The Savannah Review, and busy as editor planning themes and in collaboration with scholars to whom contributions to the volumes of African literature to be published by Cambridge Press.

The elegance of his writing emerges in his unique demonstration of the architectonics of the essay. For him, there were no barriers between disciplines; he moved as easily between literature, sociology, and philosophy, between cultures and languages, and among people of different races and ethnic groups.


He begins by quoting Senghor.

No. Abiola Irele at 70

Has Irele’s work in the last two decades swung decisively in one direction or has he forged a synthesis between the two currents? Biola once said that he would like to be remembered after his days on earth as a Catholic raising his voice among a choir around the throne of grace.

The important names here are Valentine Mudimbe, Achille Mbembe and Ire,e Gilroy in their assaults on the use of “race”, “class” or “nation” as foundations for the identity of African or Black diasporic studies in any and all disciplines, together with their many supporters and disciples, especially among the younger generation of Africanists.

Consequently, Irele has, in my opinion, been forced to make a tactical retreat from trends that riele to appear in his work in the mids. At 70, Irele continues to be extraordinarily productive and there is not the slightest sign of slowing down on account of age.

Abiola Irele

This summation does not mention science, the other great pole of investigation that parallels the arts, but Irele supplies the reference to science in another essay, “The African Scholar”, written decades later, and which does not address Negritude but locates similar ideas in modes of thought evident in classical African and non-African cultures as these are correlative with modern scientific thought.

Remember me on this computer. The contemporary and timeless significance of the ideas expressed. Editions Fayard, which Irele describes as “a wide-ranging discussion of the sociological and philosophical implications of the discovery of chaos by contemporary science”] A final example of the phenomenon, possibly the most widespread: Esu sleeps in the house But the house is too small for him; Esu sleeps on the front yard But the yard is too constricting for him; Esu sleeps in the palm-nut shell Now he has enough room to stretch at large The relationship of these ideas to writings in classical African philosophies.

Beyond being an extraordinary, world class scholar, Irele was also a deeply humane person.

His career was irepe 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. When he is angry, he weeps tears of blood.


D in French at the University of Paris, Sorbonnein How these ideas may be adapted for contemporary use. Remi Raji captures his tribute to Irele. He throws a stone today and kills a bird yesterday! He is at the same time working on a Routledge Encyclopedia of African Thought of which I have the privilege of iirele Irele’s co-editor.

The full transitional process towards decolonization had begun, and many Ibadan graduates were primed to shape the new, irepe nation in important ways. Esu’s description as a mediator between forms of being demonstrates the idea of interrelationship within an ecology, metaphorically speaking, that foregrounds the question of the range of sentience, of modes of being and their interrelationships.

Irele’s first encounter with literature was through folk tales and the oral poets who recounted “raras” in the streets. Disciplinary, Temporal, Institutional and Geographical Scope The range of his work is evident in its scope across philosophy, literary criticism, music criticism and cultural criticism, as well as theoretical expositions in relation to these fields.

It interrogates major African literary texts and writers. 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.

West Africa Review 7. He is a wonderful scholar and person and friend. Only on the basis of what this particular essay reveals about Irele’s intellectualism can one place in a proper context the areas to which abiolla took the journal, Research in African Literatures, when he became its editor after the untimely death of the late Richard Bjornsson.

What does Capra’s book say about his systems vision as embracing all reality, as Irele is indicating about the significance of the vision he is presenting? It was a time of great optimism. Cambridge, MassachusettsUSA.

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