FREN-440 Memory and Orality in the Literature of Francophone Africa
One of the goals of this course is to introduce students to an unfamiliar form--that of oral literature. At the outset this term poses a problem and it will be necessary to explore how literature can be termed "oral." The course will lead students to consider redefinitions of literary terms beginning by the term "literature" itself. Another goal of the course--certainly linked to the first--is to introduce students to African culture. Orality is not a simple aspect of communication but a complex system. There is an oral culture just as there is a culture of the written word. Key elements of orality such as memory, the status of the word, creation, re-creation, performance, and the power given by linguistic mastery will be examined. We will study epics, hunters' songs, initiation songs, tales, proverbs, and riddles. The course will therefore flow from culture to literature and from literature to culture. Cross-listed with African Studies and Comparative Literature. This course fulfills the upper-division post-1800 literature requirement for the French major.
Prerequisites: FREN 151 and 1 course between FREN 161-262, or FREN 250 and FREN 251, or instructor's permission
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