African Oral Literature

African Oral Literature : Backgrounds, Character, and Continuity

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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 LiteraturesTruly 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 ReviewThis 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 NagyIsidore 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-AmosThis 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 KuneneIsidore 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 conshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 408 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 589.67g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 025320710X
  • 9780253207104
  • 1,448,675

About Isidore Okpewho

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.show more

Table of contents

PrefacePart One: Backgrounds and Resources1. The Study of African Oral LiteratureWhat Is "Oral Literature"?An Interest in CultureAn Interest in SocietyAn Interest in LiteratureBenefits of the New Trends2. The Oral ArtistTraining and PreparationArtists and PatronsThe Artist as MakerThe Personality of the ArtistThe Artis's Place in Society3. The Oral PerformanceVarieties of PerformanceParalinguistic ResourcesPerformer and AccompanistPerformer and AudiencePerformer and RecorderComposition and Performance4. Stylistic QualitiesRepetitionParallelismPiling and AssociationTonalityIdeophonesDigressionImageryAllusionSymbolism5. Social RelevanceEntertainment and RelaxationAsserting Interests and OutlooksTeaching Ideals and ConductRecording LifePart Two: Types and Themes6. Songs and ChantsProblems of ClassificationThe Nature of Songs and ChantsMajor Themes7. Oral NarrativesSchools of ThoughtCategories of the Oral NarrativeStorytelling in Africa8. WitticismsProverbsRiddlesPuns and Tongue-Twisters9. Musical and Dramatic FormsThe Poetry of Tone InstrumentsRitual DramaPopular DramaPart Three: The Survival of Oral Literature10. Oral Literature and Modern African LiteratureTranslationAdaptionExploitation11. Preserving Oral Literature: Fieldwork and AfterAttitudesPreparationsMeeting the ArtistRecording the ArtistTranscription and TranslationStorageWhat Do They Get for Their Pains?12. Suggested Further WorkFieldwork and DocumentationThe Urban SceneBiocritical StudiesOther Specialized InvestigationsNotesBibliographyIndexshow more

Review quote

"... its pages come alive with wonderful illustrative material coupled with sensitive 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 unrivalled." --Gregory Nagy "Isidore Okpewho's African Oral Literature is a marvellous 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 Kuneneshow more

Rating details

13 ratings
3.46 out of 5 stars
5 15% (2)
4 31% (4)
3 46% (6)
2 0% (0)
1 8% (1)
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