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African Languages and Societies Commons

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2000

Oral History

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Full-Text Articles in African Languages and Societies

The Narrator As An Editor, Dan Ben-Amos Jan 2000

The Narrator As An Editor, Dan Ben-Amos

Departmental Papers (NELC)

In 1970, when Ruth Finnegan published her ground-breaking book Oral Literature in Africa, she devoted extensive chapters to prose narratives, proverbs, riddles, and praise poetry. She did not neglect forms in African folklore that at the time were barely studied, such as children's songs and rhymes, But to the epic she allocated in her massive book of over 550 pages only two-and-a-half pages that she set aside at the conclusion of her chapter on "Poetry and Patronage" under the title "A Note on 'Epic'" (Finnegan 1970: 108-10). Probably having in mind the works of the Chadwicks and Bowra, she ...