The Burden of Memory, the Muse of Forgiveness and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon

The Burden of Memory, the Muse of Forgiveness (W.E.B. Du Bois Institute) Paperback – February 17, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0195134285 ISBN-10: 0195134281
Buy used
$9.95
Buy new
$21.94
Used & new from other sellers Delivery options vary per offer
80 used & new from $0.01
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$21.94
$6.99 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$125.00
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Hero Quick Promo
Save up to 90% on Textbooks
Rent textbooks, buy textbooks, or get up to 80% back when you sell us your books. Shop Now
$21.94 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

The Burden of Memory, the Muse of Forgiveness (W.E.B. Du Bois Institute) + Anthills of the Savannah
Price for both: $32.86

Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When a book begins with a statement such as "In the 1992 presidential elections, it would appear that the United States stood a reasonable chance of acquiring a new president in the person of a certain Mr. David Duke," a reader must wonder if the author is being deliberately alarmist or has simply lost contact with reality. (After all, Duke had little national credibility, and even his campaigns in his home state of Louisiana could best be described as highly problematic.) On matters concerning his native Nigeria, and on the rest of the African nations, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka is perhaps more reliable, albeit still somewhat longwinded. The Burden of Memory is based on a set of lectures Soyinka gave at the W.E.B. Dubois Institute and faithfully preserves their highly academic orality, whether he is advocating massive reparations for the people of Africa for the historical injustices to which they have been subject, or using literary criticism to explore the ways in which Africans have been willing to "forgive" Westerners in the hopes of assimilating into the culture that formerly treated them as vassals. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In three essays, Nobel laureate Soyinka examines Africa's recent history and the ways African and other countries have dealt with horrendous crimes against humanity. Like his Open Sore of a Continent (1996), this work is based on lectures at Harvard University's W. E. B. DuBois Institute. The first essay, "Reparations, Truth, and Reconciliation," deals most directly with the issues Tina Rosenberg addressed in her prizewinning study of post-Communist Eastern Europe, The Haunted Land: "How on earth does one reconcile reparations, or recompense, with reconciliation, or remission of wrongs?" Although Soyinka respects the generosity of spirit behind South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he points out that failure to demand restitution may build an expectation of impunity that can only encourage further crimes. In the essays "L. S. Senghor and Negritude" and "Negritude and the Gods of Equity," Soyinka examines the response of writers with African roots to the effects of slavery and colonialism as well as to the cruelties imposed on Africans by many of their own postcolonial leaders. Mary Carroll --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: W.E.B. Du Bois Institute
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (February 17, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195134281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195134285
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.5 x 5.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #830,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
There is no doubt that Wole Soyinka is a good writer - his Nobel prize was justly deserved and not a case of affirmative action as another reviewer insultingly suggested. However, someone encountering Soyinka for the first time in this book would not be tempted to try reading his more famous writings: this book is, to be frank, not well written. Based on three lectures Soyinka gave at Harvard University in 1997, Soyinka touches upon the very topical reparations controversy in the first essay, praises the Senegalese writer Leopold Senghor in the second and spends the last examining African poets' attempts to deal with the legacies of colonialism and racism.
Through all three lectures Soyinka employs a very dense style, one that might have worked well when speaking for an academic audience at Harvard but one that does not translate well onto the written page. Phrases like 'slaves into the twentieth-first century, mouthing the mangy mandates of mendacity, ineptitude, corruption and sadism' sound impressive but are merely a means for Soyinka to play around with words when he could be spending his time seriously addressing very important issues like reparations. When he does get down to business, he writes that 'reparations would involve the acceptance by Western nations of a moral obligation to repatriate the post-colonial loot salted away in their vaults, in real estate and business holdings' but never goes into detail exactly what this would involve. What is more disturbing is his frequent references to the U.S., which reveal his real ignorance about American life: examples include his belief that David Duke could have been elected President in 1992 and that the Ku Klux Klan held or holds a 'tentacular hold over power structures across the United States.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kwabena Osei on September 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
Let me start by acknowledging that I haven't read this particular work. I'm merely expressing my ire at an ignoramus of a reviewer from Philadelphia, who suggested that Soyinka's nobel prize was not well deserved. While I'd be the first to acknowledge that Soyinka's writing can be difficult, I would suggest that this cretin start off with Soyinka's autobiographical corpus of "Ake: the years of childhood", "Isara" and "Ibadan: the pemkelemes years" then, maybe such powerful (if acerbic and polemical) works as "The Man Died," before attempting the more difficult critical works like "Myth, Literature and the African World" and by all accounts, the work under review.
I do not believe that such a powerful mind as Soyinka's, could write a lightweight tome and so while I haven't read "The Burden of Memory," I'm willing to stick my neck out and give it three stars if only because while Soyinka's mastery of language is beyond doubt, his quest for precision, sometimes, rather ironically, renders his writing a tad dense; which can be the only explanation for the bulk of complaints, levelled at this work, on this occassion.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Charlie Oyibo on January 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Wole Soyinka's mastery of the English language, as I have had occasion to say on another forum, borders on the supernatural. And perhaps therein lies the man's flaw--but that is a matter I will get to in a minute.
"The Burden of Memory, the Muse of Forgiveness," you must understand, is "in the obligatory [Soyinka] fashion," a compilation of oral lectures the learned professor gave at Harvard. You must understand too, that the writing is basically academic, and suited more to an oral lecture. And because we speak of Soyinka, the writing is characteristically difficult.
So then, his lectures-turn-books (including, of course, "The Burden of Memory, the Muse of Forgiveness") are not the best of works with which to appraise Soyinka's genius. For a true appreciation of Soyinka's literary prowess, you must read his plays and novels.
The flaw, of which I spoke earlier, is captured in the question a friend once posed to me (not Soyinka): "Is not the purpose of language to communicate?" Without a full-fledged dictionary, and the will to re-read whole paragraphs, one would struggle to keep up with Soyinka's writing.
In all, whether one likes it or not, the man is a literary giant, period!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Aco on October 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a highly analytical, scholarly book, three lectures Soyinka gave at Harvard through it's W.E.B. Dubois Institute's Macmillan series in 1997.

This is also a densely packed linguistic explosion, a cultural retrospective of the ancients' behaviors, the modern ones, and the poet's struggle to express the depth of existence.

I also got through it only because I percieved and imagined the flow of the statements through clear imagery. There was much that I lost and as much time marveling at the control and brilliance of his mind to evoke the depths of Negritude, it's descendant issues and conflicts, and the artist's all important concern for the state of life.

But if I had attended these lectures I would have been gone. Off to the idea expressed ten minutes ago. But the thoughts of man's brutality of itself and incredible passages like this thrilled and bore into me:

"the fact remains that the other has impinged on it in a way that permanently precludes the solace of remaining within the secure isolation of its own precedent world order, or whatever vestiges of it are left. In short, the effects of that 'disdain' appear permanent, inescapable; they are to be read in a thousand and one actualities that plague the continent, and can be measured in the retardation of social existence against the visible prosperity of the other on a shared planet." (pg.185)

This is a book about the "...the retardation of social existence..."
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
The Burden of Memory, the Muse of Forgiveness (W.E.B. Du Bois Institute)
This item: The Burden of Memory, the Muse of Forgiveness (W.E.B. Du Bois Institute)
Price: $21.94
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?