From the African Library of Critical Writing
It has been argued that traditional literature in Africa, often called orature, has served as an instrument for examination of individual experience in relation to the normative order of society.
It was used, and is still being used, in several parts of rural Africa to chart social progress and also hone the artistic talents of members, ensuring that society adheres to general community aesthetic.
Coming on a timely note with newly integrative indigenous approaches to literary criticism ‘African Rhythms’ ensures that the imaginative approach to Africa’s development issues remains the cardinal points of its research concentration for the foremost edition of this Library of Critical Writing.
The editors have placed the onus on literary critics to turn the searchlight on African thought and oratorical strategies of aesthetic communion.
With varied approaches to consider, a good number chapters in this issue has dwelt on traditional influences.
Using the work of Chinua Achebe, two scholars from outside as Africa proffer an illumination of oratorical devices employed in modern African fictions which place indigenous writing far above the pedigree of foreign writers on Africa.
Two subsequent chapters follow this pattern to assess the work of literature which, by fusing traditional elements in transitional societies, illustrate the cultural awareness that touches upon the exalted role of the artiste in African communities.
The POST COLONIAL IDENTITY as theory of literature echoes here with strands of political commitment in the poetry of some Nigerian artistes.
These reflect the twin issues of orality and modernity in the discourse of African literary appreciation since the past decades of African writing.
Professor of African languages and literature and founder of the society of African folklore, Charles Smith, is editor of the critical writing series on African Literature with Chin Ce, poet from Africa, and author of several works of fiction and essays on African and Caribbean literature.
Available Now at the African Books Collective