African Novels and the Question of Orality

African Novels and the Question of Orality

Julien, Eileen M.
Distribution: World
Publication date: 07/22/1992
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-33101-4
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This is an extremely well written and carefully argued book that is quite persuasive. It should be essential reading for every scholar in African literature." —Research in African Literatures

... a bold challenge and a tool for the student as well as for the scholar in African literature, and also a veritable tour de force in comparative literature." —World Literature Today

Eileen Julien has produced an astute, well-researched, and lucidly written text on issues of orality in African literature." —International Journal of African Historical Studies

... a joy to read because of the precious clarity, infectious liveliness and concision with which Julien writes." —African Studies Review

The search for oral origins in African literature is a quest for African authenticity. In a critique and revision of the conceptual category of orality as it has been understood and used by scholars, Julien stresses the transformation of narrative genres as an index of sociopolitical relations and authorial vision.

Author Bio

EILEEN JULIEN, Associate Professor of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures at Boston University, is a past President of the African Literature Association (1990–91). She writes primarily on sub-Saharan literature of French expression.

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Table of Contents


Part I: Of Origins and Orality
1. The Search of Continuity and Authenticity
2. An Impoverished Paradigm

Part II: The Arbitrariness and Specificity of Form
3. The Importance of Genre

4. A Dubious Heroism: Epic Modalities in L’Estrange Destin de Wangrin
5. The Democratization of Epic: Les Bouts de bois de Dieu

Initiation Story
6. Authority Reconstructed: Le Regard du roi
7. An Ambiguous Quest: La Carte d’identite

8. "The Emporer’s New Clothes": The Lens of Fable in La Vie et demie
9. "The Mouth That Did Not Eat Itself": From Object of Representation to Medium in Devil on the Cross
10. Toward New Readings of the Novel

Works Cited