Okot p’Bitek’s revision of aspects of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s "The Mask of Anarchy".
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This paper examines the extent to which Okot p’Bitek revises aspects of Shelley’s The Mask of Anarchy. It begins by establishing the theoretical background to revisionism and takes as its working statement a key passage from Wordsworth. The substance of this passage is pursued and related to Johnsonian newness which, implicitly, is a neo-classical revision of the Wordsworthian stance. This position is pursued further in twentieth-century theoretical views as espoused by T.S.Eliot especially his view about relationships between texts. This section ends by drawing Harold Bloom into the paper’s theoretical framework and indicating which of his revisionary ratios are seen in p’Bitek’s revision of Shelley’s poem. The next section of the paper justifies p’Bitek’s revisionism and the third part applies two of Bloom’s revisionary ratios to Okot p’Bitek’s Song of Prisoner and Song of Soldier. The paper ends by assessing p’Bitek’s anxiety. It affirms that p’Bitek achieves identity and poetic distinction in revising aspects of The Mask of Anarchy.