ISBN 9789987686292
Pages 572
Dimensions 229 x 152 mm
Published 2002
Publisher Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Tanzania
Format Paperback

The African Epic Controversy

Historical, Philosophical and Aesthetic Perspectives on Epic Poetry and Performance

by Mugyabuso M. Mulokozi

Mulokozi discusses African epic poetry from a context-performance perspective, and asserts that oral epic poetry is a living and lived event, besides being a literary text. His work is based on previously unpublished material from the Enanga epic tradition of the Bahaya of Tanzania, and material on the African epic, gathered from West, Central, Southern and Eastern Africa since 1970, and arises from the controversies about the occurrence of the epic in Africa from this time. It includes full texts of the poems themselves in the original Luhaya language and set alongside English translations. For each poem, the author presents a profile of the singer, and an introduction and anaylsis of the socio-historical context, literary content and stylistic features of the poem. Adopting a sociological, generative approach, he re-examines questions of oral composition, oral poetics, the nature and role of music in epic performance, the concept of heroism in African epic poetry, and how it stands in relation to history and philosophy.

As a whole, the study reaffirms the existence of the African epic, and generates new definitions and theoretical approaches taking forward scholarly debate on epic poetry in Africa.

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About the Author

Mugyabuso M. Mulokozi

Mugyabuso M. Mulokozi is currently a Professor of Literature in the Institute of Kiswahili Research at the University of Dar es Salaam, of which he is Director.

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