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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Use of Orality in the Short Stories of A.C. Jordan, Mtutuzeli Matshoba, Njabulo Ndebele and Bessie Head
Author:MacKenzie, Craig
Year:2002
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Volume:28
Issue:2
Period:June
Pages:347-358
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:oral literature
literature
Literature, Mass Media and the Press
About persons:Archibald Campbell Jordan (1906-1968)ISNI
Mtutuzeli Matshoba (1950-)ISNI
Njabulo Simakahle Ndebele (1948-)ISNI
Bessie Amelia Head (1937-1986)ISNI
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/823389
Abstract:The deployment of oral forms in the written work of African writters is a more complex process than would perhaps appear at first sight. Frequently theorized but seldom achieved, the effective transportation of the oral into the written involves successfully negotiating the ontological gap between oral and written modes. This article examines attempts by four South African writers (A.C. Jordan, Mtutuzeli Matshoba, Njabulo Ndebele and Bessie Head) to deploy elements of orality in their written stories - to act as storytellers while working within the domain of written literature. It argues that the stories of Jordan and Matshoba are the most conspicuously oral-derived, and yet are the least satisfactory as (written) literary works. Ndebele thematizes orality in his stories without, however, allowing this to become an integral part of the narrative style of his work, while Head is the most successful 'oral stylist' of the four in bridging the gap between oral and literary modes. Notes, ref., sum.
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