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The Languages and Literatures of Africa
Title Details

256 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

16 b/w. 4 line. Illustrations

Imprint: James Currey

The Languages and Literatures of Africa

The Sands of Babel

by Alain Ricard

  • Description
  • Reviews
An historical overview provides new insights into the literatures of Africa, both oral and written.
Expanded and updated from the earlier French edition Litteratures d'Afrique noire (1995), African literatures are presented in a new perspective focusing on the dialogue between languages and literatures. Orality is not always traditional, manuscripts are read aloud, and books have often been written in local languages, as well as in colonial languages.
This book examines the dialogue between literatures written in different languages: Thomas Mofolo wrote in Sesotho and Sol Plaatje wrote in English but their novels Chaka (1926) and Mhudi (1931), should be read in counterpoint. The same could be said of Senghor and Soyinka, involved in a conversation on Africa's future that lasted for several decades. Many African writers write in several languages: from Okot p'Bitek (Acoli-English) to Ngugi wa Thiong'o (English-Gikuyu), and from Amadou Hampate Ba (Fula-French) to Alexis Kagame (French-Kinyarwanda). Focusing on linguistic consciousness and the place of language in the writer's consciousness, this book provides an original and comprehensive treatment of the African literary situation.

North America:Africa World Press
"Alain Ricard is the foremost scholar of African literature in France. This book confirms his eminent stature in the field and brings a new dimension to his earlier work. It is not only a summation of a life long devotion to an understanding of the various aspects and articulations of the corpus, but also the most comprehensive study today of the African imagination in its full formal and expressive range." F. Abiola Irele
"Ricard brings to the task of writing The Languages and Literatures of Africa a wide range of experiences in Francophone and Anglophone Africa, and in the study of different genres from Lome to Zanzibar. The result is a book that is always stimulating and often provocative, that is informative, theoretically aware, and researched with passion. A 'lover of parallelisms' (157), Ricard has an infectious commitment to making links and connections." James Gibbs, the LUCAS BULLETIN
"A fascinating book for Anglophone readers concerned with African languages and literatures." AFRICAN LITERATURE TODAY
"...the book contributes to wider understanding of the linguistic traditions and languages of Africa. As a welcome addition for Anglophone readers, it should be used to generate debate and more research, in particular by African graduates and researchers on the questions raised by the theories and approaches devised mainly by Western scholars. ...a unique book for both the expert and novice who are curious about African languages and the development of its literature." Bridget McBean, AFRICAN RESEARCH & DOCUMENTATION
"Ricard's superb survey pulls together the combined richnesses, past and present, in the wake of many earlier skilful comparatists - all amply acknowledged and taken further. ...wonderful, reliable and illuminating coverage." Stephen Gray, the MAIL & GUARDIAN

Paperback

9780852555811

September 2004

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Title Details

256 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

16 b/w. 4 line. Illustrations

Imprint: James Currey