The Powers of Genre describes a method for interpreting oral literature that depends upon and facilitates dialogue between insiders and outsiders to a tradition. Seitel illustrates this method with lively examples from Haya proverbs, folktales, and heroic verse. He then focuses on a single epic ballad to demonstrate, among other things, why stanzas need not rhyme, and how significance needs time in oral poetry and narrative. Making a controversial claim that an heroic age, similar to that of Ancient Greece, existed in Sub-Saharan Africa, this work will intrigue anyone who works in oral literature and narrative.
- Publication Date:
- 12 / 02 / 1999