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By O. Ifowodo

What wouldn't it suggest to learn postcolonial writings below the prism of trauma? Ogaga Ifowodo tackles those questions via a psycho-social exam of the lingering impression of imperialist domination, leading to a fresh supplement to the cultural-materialist stories that dominate the sphere.

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Extra info for History, Trauma, and Healing in Postcolonial Narratives: Reconstructing Identities

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The play obliges us to step, without staying our feet like Elesin, into the psychic gulf of transition and disintegration for the primary mode of laying hold of its “truth” seems even more evident in the light of Soyinka’s famous essay “The Fourth Stage,” which I have also drawn upon in my discussion. My claim is that the awful foreboding so palpably expressed by Soyinka about a world wrenched from its true course and smashed against alien boulders, leaving its inhabitants floundering in an ominous void, aptly names postcolonial trauma as the chthonic realm deep within which the play’s driving impetus is located.

In urging that postcolonial studies, as a discursive formation, take more seriously Fanon’s call for psychoanalytical interpretation of the black problem, I ask myself the same questions that several of his more sensitive readers have asked, among them Stuart Hall and Homi Bhabha. Hall asks, “Why Fanon? Why Now? ” s And Bhabha—who, perhaps more than any other postcolonial theorist, has done the most to launch the avalanche of discursive interest in Fanon49—asks, “Why invoke Frantz Fanon today, quite out of historical context?

If this is true, then surely neither a first nor second reading of Horseman n would see the colonial factor as playing that inert role in the reactive process it set off. Furthermore, in examining the psycho-social impact of the traumatic encounter between the hitherto autochthonous and self-directed Oyo kingdom on the one hand and colonialism on the other, I consider the anomalies of affect and the death-denying devices resorted to by Elesin, the Oyo people, and Soyinka himself by drawing on the Freudian notions of Angstbereitschaft—or t preparedness for anxiety, latency, and transference—and Robert Jay Lifton’s concept of life continuity.

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