Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka is Africa's most prolific and successful playwright as well as an innovative poet, novelist, critic, and political activist. Educated in Nigeria and London, Soyinka draws freely upon his own cross-cultural experience to create an artistic hybrid between the traditions of Yoruba ritual and festival and the conventions of Western European theater. This eclecticism also stems in part from the flexible Yoruba world view in which, for instance, the deity Sango, traditionally the god of lightning, can assume the title of god of electricity, simply absorbing modern Western civilization into the mythological framework. In this comprehensive study, Derek Wright introduces the reader to Yoruba themes, culture, and dramaturgy and shows how this tradition permeates Soyinka's outlook. Ritual marks the intersection between the divine and the human, the metaphysical and the naturalistic, the spiritual and the communal; crossing these boundaries places individuals and societies in crisis, a moment both dangerous and potentially powerful. Thus, Soyinka applies and reinterprets traditional mythological themes to serve his passionate commitment to human freedom and social justice for Nigeria in its transition to an independent state. Many of his works were performed as street theater - often under harassment from the authorities - as political protest against corruption and power abuse in government. Wright surveys Soyinka's more than 30 works, focusing especially on the plays The Road, Death and the King's Horseman, Madmen and Specialists, and A Play of Giants. He also analyzes Soyinka's poems, novels, and autobiographies, including The Interpreters, The Man Died, Ake, and Isara. He traces the writer's life and achievements from his earliest years in Nigeria, through productions of his plays in London, New York, and Chicago, the turbulent years of political activism and imprisonment, to the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986, and his most recent works. Wright offers the student or general reader an invaluable introduction to the enduring achievement of this important African writer.