Wole Soyinka and Hugh MacDiarmid: The Violence and Virtues of Nations

Alan Riach

in Scottish Literature and Postcolonial Literature

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780748637744
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652143 | DOI:
Wole Soyinka and Hugh MacDiarmid: The Violence and Virtues of Nations

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This chapter explores the cultural critic offering an assessment that must be especially ready to historicise the work of Hugh MacDiarmid and Wole Soyinka, and to see the different roles their nations have played historically, beginning from the understanding that not all nations are the same or fulfil the same function. MacDiarmid based his literary effort on the validity of national identity. His conviction, far more than any comparable or contemporary figure, was that in Scotland, nationality was a vital consideration in the development of the totality of cultural production and the concurrent well-being of people generally. The differences between the national identities of Nigeria and Scotland show amply how useless any single theory of nationalism is, unless it describes specific historical circumstances. The natural concerns and responsibilities that come with place and connection are what Soyinka's words remind his readers of.

Keywords: Hugh MacDiarmid; Wole Soyinka; national identity; violence; Scotland; Nigeria; nationalism

Chapter.  6075 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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