By Handel Kashope Wright
Read Online or Download A Prescience of African Cultural Studies: The Future of Literature in Africa Is Not What It Was (Counterpoints (New York, N.Y.), Vol. 40.) PDF
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Additional info for A Prescience of African Cultural Studies: The Future of Literature in Africa Is Not What It Was (Counterpoints (New York, N.Y.), Vol. 40.)
By the time St. Augustine appears at the door, the bedlam has come to an abrupt halt, replaced by a studious quietness, punctuated with the orderly sound of pages being ﬂicked as we search for our “place” in the text. St. Augustine walks briskly to his desk, narrating on the way in a loud voice and from memory the poem we are to discuss that day. This exhibitionist illustration of his prodigious long-term memory is designed to amaze and impress the class—and it never fails! “St. ” My classmates are whispering the usual noises of appreciation of his performance.
4 I also mean to reference what Colin Mercer (1991) describes as “technique,” that is, determining in what circumstances and in which differing ways individual readers (and I would add communities of readers) “read” a work and how and to what extent they make use of what they read in their day-to-day life. , works in print), I believe it is particularly applicable to African performance and orature forms. Signiﬁcant as it is, especially in the appreciation of African literature, I believe the notion of function has been reduced to a narrow analysis of class and social justice in the work of certain African Marxist critics.
1 Even more contemporary works like Okot p’Bitek’s (1966) “Song of Lawino” simultaneously incorporate elements of traditional African storytelling forms, African traditional praise poetry, and European poetry conventions. Is p’Bitek’s work a story or music lyrics or poetry? If we want to reduce the complex form to poetry, what genre of poetry is it? It is in fact virtually impossible to pigeonhole p’Bitek’s “Song of Lawino” and “Song of Ocol” (1984) in terms of European (and indeed African) classiﬁcations of poetry.
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