Yoruba-Irish Literature: Intersection in the Language of Supernatural in Yeats and Soyinka


The present paper aims at showing the intersection that Irish and Nigerian (especially the Yoruba) literatures share, particularly in the construction of the idea of supernaturalism, which is clearly exemplified in two of their most important works. No previous mention has ever been made of the convergence and divergence in the construction of the supernatural worlds in Yeats and Soyinka works, which are perfect metaphor for the two cultures representing Irish and African worlds. Using a descriptive textual analysis method textual evidence underpinning ideologies and narratives of the supernaturalism in these two worldviews are analysed. The paper shows, through the analyses of the language construing the idea of supernaturalism in Yeats’ Countess Cathleen (1892) and Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman (1976), not only the similarities and dissimilarities in how Irish and Yoruba cultures conceptualise their worlds of supernaturalism but also how such a belief system is negotiated and operationalised in the real world.


Yeats ad Soyinka; Irish-Yoruba literature; literary intersection; Countless Cathleen; Death and the King’s Horseman; supernaturalism; death and life

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Published : 2018-12-30

Akinlotan, M. (2018) “Yoruba-Irish Literature: Intersection in the Language of Supernatural in Yeats and Soyinka”, Crossroads. A Journal of English Studies, (23), pp. 4-22. doi: 10.15290/cr.2018.23.4.01.

Mayowa Akinlotan 
University of Texas at Austin, USA  United States