Which critical consensus or critics does Elaine Fido respond to or challenge in her essay "Okigbo's Labyrinths and the Context of Igbo Attitudes to the Female Principle"?

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vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In her essay titled  "Okigbo's Labyrinths and the Context of Igbo Attitudes to the Female Principle," Elaine Fido addresses various audiences, including the following:

  • Feminist critics who, in discussing writings by males, occasionally express an

anger which . . . can sometimes lead to intense hostility to men, itself a social divisive force.

  • Anyone who assumes that Okigbo’s poetry expresses simple emotions. On the contrary, Fido argues that

When the poetry is closely examined, there seems to be running through all of its emotional textures a tension between love and fear, desire to submit to intensities of emotional and physical love and desire to remain separate, adoration of the mother and terror of the sexual partner.

  • Anyone who dislikes the obscurity of Okigbo’s poetry.  Addressing such persons, Fido asserts that

Nothing is clearer than Okigbo's intention not to be fully understood, even to himself. There has been complaint about this. But perhaps it is best to accept that when a writer is deliberately obscure, out of competence rather than out of failure to be clear, there is good reason.

  • Anyone who, because of the learned nature of Okigo’s poetry, might fail to appreciate its mystical qualities.  Thus, near the very end of her essay, Fido comments that

Okigbo was self-consciously a mystic, fully accepting of the romantic ideal of the poet as seer. His own comment on the composition of his work, although perhaps misleading given the erudite texture of borrowings from European and American poets which characterizes his earlier work, suggests a reconfirmation of the spiritual core of his poetry . . . .





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