African Oral Literature: Backgrounds, Character, and Continuity

African Oral Literature: Backgrounds, Character, and Continuity

By: Isidore Okpewho (author)Paperback

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... its pages come alive with wonderful illustrative material coupled with sensitve and insightful commentary." -Reviews in Anthropology ... the scope, breadth, and lucidity of this excellent study confirm that Okpewho is undoubtedly the most important authority writing on African oral literature right now... "-Research in African Literatures Truly a tour de force of individual scholarship... "-World Literature Today ... excellent... " -African Affairs ... a thorough synthesis of the main issues of oral literature criticism, as well as a grounding in experienced fieldwork, a wide-ranging theoretical base, and a clarity of argument rare among academics."-Multicultural Review This is a breathtakingly ambitious project... "-Harold Scheub ... a definitive accounting of the evidence of living oral traditions in Africa today. Professor Okpewho's authority as an expert in this important new field is unrivaled." -Gregory Nagy Isidore Okpewho's African Oral Literature is a marvelous piece of scholarship and wide-ranging research. It presents the most comprehensive survey of the field of oral literature in Africa." -Emmanuel Obiechina ... a tour de force of scholarship in which Okpewho casts his net across the African continent, searching for its verbal forms through voluminous recent writings and presents African oral literature in a new voice, proclaiming the literariness of African folklore." -Dan Ben-Amos This is an outstanding book by a scholar whose work has already influenced how African literature should be conceived.... Professor Okpewho is a scholar with a special talent to nurture scholarship in others. After this work, African literature will never be the same."-Mazisi Kunene Isidore Okpewho, for many years Professor of English at the University of Ibadan, is one of the handful of African scholars who has facilitated the growth of African oral literature to its status today as a literary enterprise con

About Author

ISIDORE OKPEWHO, Chair of Afro-American Studies at the State University of New York at Binghamton, is author of The Epic in Africa and Myth in Africa and editor of The Heritage of African Poetry and The Oral Performance in Africa. He has also published two novels, The Victims and The Last Duty. He was for many years Professor of English at the University of Ibadan.


Preface Part One: Backgrounds and Resources 1. The Study of African Oral Literature What Is "Oral Literature"? An Interest in Culture An Interest in Society An Interest in Literature Benefits of the New Trends 2. The Oral Artist Training and Preparation Artists and Patrons The Artist as Maker The Personality of the Artist The Artis's Place in Society 3. The Oral Performance Varieties of Performance Paralinguistic Resources Performer and Accompanist Performer and Audience Performer and Recorder Composition and Performance 4. Stylistic Qualities Repetition Parallelism Piling and Association Tonality Ideophones Digression Imagery Allusion Symbolism 5. Social Relevance Entertainment and Relaxation Asserting Interests and Outlooks Teaching Ideals and Conduct Recording Life Part Two: Types and Themes 6. Songs and Chants Problems of Classification The Nature of Songs and Chants Major Themes 7. Oral Narratives Schools of Thought Categories of the Oral Narrative Storytelling in Africa 8. Witticisms Proverbs Riddles Puns and Tongue-Twisters 9. Musical and Dramatic Forms The Poetry of Tone Instruments Ritual Drama Popular Drama Part Three: The Survival of Oral Literature 10. Oral Literature and Modern African Literature Translation Adaption Exploitation 11. Preserving Oral Literature: Fieldwork and After Attitudes Preparations Meeting the Artist Recording the Artist Transcription and Translation Storage What Do They Get for Their Pains? 12. Suggested Further Work Fieldwork and Documentation The Urban Scene Biocritical Studies Other Specialized Investigations Notes Bibliography Index

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780253207104
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 408
  • ID: 9780253207104
  • weight: 594
  • ISBN10: 025320710X

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