The Poems of Niyi Osundare Essay

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The character of literary forms always evolves with the passage of times. Although African literature in its written form (as against the traditional oral form) has a relatively short pedigree, it has not failed to constantly renew itself by evolving, principally in its social functionality, either as an avenue to demonstrate a cultural point of view or a satirical vista. Consequently, this attribute is responsible for the peculiar aesthetics that particularizes the literature.
Given the peculiarity of African literature and other reasons critics in this part of the world have often been wary of the term ‘aesthetic’. For instance, African critics have always frowned at such quasi negative critical registers like Larsonist, Euro-modernist
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Inexorably, this commitment to extrinsic forces influences the intrinsic form and conception of a work of literature.
However, no matter the level of a writer’s political obligation, art must be presented ‘artistically’. No matter the function into which art is employed, literature must be treated as a compound that contains self-nourishing syntagms and paradigms that provide subtle literary topography for the critic. Little wonder Frye asserts, in Anatomy of Criticism that the postulate of criticism must emanate from literature itself. Also Henry James, the American novelist, once posited that how a story is told is part of the story; insisting “you cannot separate the story from the telling.” Hence, albeit functional art has become the norm in Africa, the artistic aspect has not become irrelevant. Much as writers’ interests have concentrated on, and very much directed to truly contemporary issues, the aesthetic part of their writing has been refocused to accommodate new inclinations.
Although the generation of Nigerian writers – Wole Soyinka, J.P. Clark, Christopher Okigbo, Chinua Achebe – are praised for initiating ‘high art’ in the nation’s literature comparable…

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