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Book Book Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:In search of Sunjata: the Mande oral epic as history, literature and performance
Editor:Austen, Ralph A.ISNI
City of publisher:Bloomington, IN.
Publisher:Indiana University Press
ISBN:0253334527; 0253212480
Geographic term:Mali
Subjects:traditional rulers
epics (form)
About person:Sunjata (c. 1211-1255)
Abstract:The essays collected in this volume deal with the Sunjata epic, which celebrates the founder of the 13th-century Mali empire. They consider the epic from three different perspectives; history, literature and performance. The history that the authors in the first part pursue is less that of the 13-century events that the epic depicts than that of the text itself as an historical artifact. Ivor Wilks, Seydou Camara, and Ralph A. Austen focus on the core Manden epic, while Stephen Belcher, Mamadou Diawara and Paolo Fernando de Moraes Faria look at how the Sunjata epic has been incorporated into other kinds of West African history and historical consciousness. In the part that treats the epic as literature Karim Traoré and David C. Conrad venture to treat oral performances of 'Sunjata' as texts, while Stephen Bulman and James R. McGuire concern themselves with the transformation of the oral narrative into written text (among others by an analysis of Mande identity in Massa Makan Diabaté's 'Le boucher de Kouta', (1982). Finally, three chapters treat the Sunjata epic as performance, attempting to link the act of performing with literature and history (Charles S. Bird, Jan Jansen, and Robert C. Newton). The epic and its setting is the subject of the introductory chapter by John William Johnson.