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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Positive expression of negative attributes: an aspect of Yorb court poetry
Author:Akinyemi, AkintundeISNI
Year:2004
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Volume:35
Issue:3
Pages:93-111
Language:English
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:Yoruba
Yoruba polities
praise poetry
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/research_in_african_literatures/v035/35.3akinyemi.pdf
Abstract:There are official royal bards at the courts of prominent African paramount rulers who sing in praise of these monarchs. Although it is the exaltation of the kings that dominates the bards' production, there are also traces of criticism of the monarchs' unpopular policies and high-handedness. Such critical comments, however, are not easily identifiable because they are often presented in figuratively dense language. Using the court bards in the palace of the Alfin of Oy, a prominent Yorb ruler (Nigeria), as a case study, the author explains how the bards employ poetic skills and diplomacy in discharging this difficult responsibility. The author claims that the production of Yorb royal bards must be correctly interpreted before it can be meaningfully related to events in the society. While it is true that the material of the poetry might have been taken from common daily occurrences, it has to undergo some form of aesthetic adornment to become poetry. The purpose of this paper is to unmask the bards' tactics of criticizing their patrons. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]
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