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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:African literature and the traditional arts: speaking art, molding theory
Author:Kalu, AnthoniaISNI
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Geographic term:Subsaharan Africa
Subjects:folk tales
Abstract:An analytical approach to African literature must start from 'the practice of traditional arts'. Ancestral African thought may not have been written in great books but it was written in African traditions and minds. Understanding the complementary relationship between the bases of ancestral and Africanized Western knowledge facilitates a new reading of the African writer's effort to synthesize a transitional culture. Why has it been difficult to recognize the creation of the African novel, for example, as proceeding from an existing African art tradition? An explanation has been obscured by prolonged focus on the language question (the use of the colonizers' languages). Viewing African literature, especially the novel, as one of the art pieces displayed in traditional art forms facilitates the emergence of different and new interpretations. In this article, the Mbari oral narrative art practice of the Ibo and the Gelede masking traditions of the Yoruba are used to examine the links of African oral narratives to African literary theory. This does not mean the analysis of language is irrelevant in African or other literatures; rather it suggests a modified analytical approach based on relevant predictions of African traditional arts and practice. Bibliogr., notes, ref.