Texts/Forms and Transformations: A Poetics of the African Imagination

African narratives in both their traditional and contemporary phases apparently extend or re-stage tendencies previously encoded in folklore. These narratives are related not because newer ones or forms simply repeat previous ones but in the way in which continuity and innovation are simultaneous aspects of evolving traditions. These connections (as well as divergences), both cultural and aesthetic, constitute a basis for an interdisciplinary poetics or, specifically, a theory of African narrative rooted in literature and cinema. My aim is to investigate this possibility not in a generalized manner but in a focused study of narratives produced by or related to the Igbos of southeastern Nigeria. This study will include the examination of the significant relations between such connected forms of narrative as oral literature, ideographic narratives, written literature in both native and foreign languages, and film. This focused study could therefore be contextualized as an exemplification of a phenomenon that may be applicable to African narratives in general.

Project leader(s):
  • Maik Nwosu (Department of English, University of Denver)

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