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Once Upon a Kingdom: Myth, Hegemony, and Identity

Once Upon a Kingdom: Myth, Hegemony, and Identity (Hardback)

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The old West African kingdom of Benin continues to hold a powerful sway on the imagination of many. Today, the communities that once lived in the pale of Benin's power still tell stories that show traces of their ingrained resentment of the kingdom. Using stories he collected from narrators in some of these communities, the west-Niger Igbo of the present Delta State of Nigeria, Okpewho reveals an effort by marginalized peoples to defend themselves and their place in an uneven socio-political landscape. For these communities, in other words, the present mirrors the past in both folklore and political reality. Okpewho goes on to suggest that the political crises facing several countries today may be traced to their failure to create a level playing field for the plural identities within them.

Isidore Okpewho has been Professor and Chair of English at Ibadan University, Visiting Professor of English at Harvard University, and Chair of Africana Studies at Binghamton University (SUNY). Among his numerous books are scholarly works like The Epic in Africa (1979), Myth in Africa (1983), The Oral Performance in Africa (1990), and African Oral Literature (1992). Two of his published novels, The Last Duty (1976) and Tides (1993), have won international prizes.

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