Monday, October 18, 2004

African Literature, Oral traditions

The following works cover and analyze some of the best and most representative collections of oral art forms from many parts of Africa: Uchegbulam N. Abalogu, Garba Ashiwaju, and Regina Amadi-Tshiwala, Oral Poetry in Nigeria (1981), containing articles on a number of different oral genres in contemporary Nigeria; B.W. Andrzejewski and I.M. Lewis, Somali Poetry: An Introduction (1964), a detailed and authoritative account of the main genres and their social context by a linguist and a sociologist; Ulli Beier (comp. and ed.), Yoruba Poetry: An Anthology of Traditional Poems (1970), a good introduction to the rich and complex Yoruba oral traditions; James Stuart (comp.), Izibongo: Zulu Praise-Poems (1968), long poems to kings and chiefs, rich in imagery and allusions, with a discussion of their form, function, and social context; A. Coupez and Th. Kamanzi, Litt�rature de cour au Rwanda (1970), analysis and texts of the royal poetry of the kings of Rwanda and accounts of the poets responsible for them; Pierre Smith (ed.), Le R�cit populaire au Rwanda (1975), 30 popular tales from Rwanda that interpret the history of the region in a different way from the royal praises; M. Damane and P.B. Sanders (eds. and trans.), Lithoko: Sotho Praise-Poems (1974), an authoritative anthology of praise poems of Basotho chiefs, covering 200 years; Francis Mading Deng, The Dinka and Their Songs (1973), a careful account of the performed poetry of the Dinka people of The Sudan; Ruth Finnegan (comp. and trans.), Limba Stories and Story-Telling (1967, reprinted 1981), stories from the Limba of Sierra Leone, with attention to the creative role of individual narrators; Veronika G�r�g-Karady, Noirs et blancs: leur image dans la litt�rature orale africaine: �tude-anthologie (1976), an analysis of a large number of tales exploring the different perceptions of the relations between races that the stories reveal; Olatunde O. Olatunji, Features of Yor�b� Oral Poetry (1984), a full account of the oral genres from the point of view of Yoruba poetics; Denise Paulme, La M�re d�vorante: essai sur le morphologie des contes africains (1976), essays that discuss the social role of the tale and analyze eight archetypal African tales; Jeff Opland, Xhosa Oral Poetry: Aspects of a Black South African Tradition (1983), an analysis primarily of Xhosa praise poetry and poets, incorporating discussion of the interplay of print, literacy, and orality; and Harold Scheub, The Xhosa Ntsomi (1975), an important collection of Xhosa and Zulu stories with an emphasis on the creative role of the storyteller.

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