Gathering a wide range of traditional African myths, this compelling new collection offers tales of heroes battling mighty serpents and monstrous birds, brutal family conflict and vengeance, and desperate migrations across vast and alien lands. From impassioned descriptions of animal-creators to dramatic stories of communities forced to flee monstrous crocodiles, all the narratives found here concern origins - whether of the universe, peoples or families. Together, they create a kaleidoscopic picture of the rich and varied oral traditions that have shaped the culture and society of successive generations of Africans for thousands of years, throughout the long struggle to survive and explore this massive and environmentally diverse continent.
Stephen Belcher was born in Cairo, Egypt, and spent much of his childhood in Africa and Europe. He holds a doctorate in Comparative Literature from Brown University and has taught in the history department at Pennsylvania State University. He is the co-editor (with John W. Johnson and Thomas Hale) of Voices from a Vast Continent: Oral Epics from Africa, and the author of Epic Traditions of Africa. He is currently teaching at the University of Kankan in the Republic of Guinea.