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Representations: Legends, Epics, and Performance: West Africa
(1,887 words)

Epics as genre

In her pioneering work, Oral Literature in Africa, Finnegan (1970, 110) concludes that epic rarely seems to occur in Sub-Saharan Africa. This statement raised enormous protests and incited Indiana University Press to launch the African Epic Series. Epics are poetic narratives of substantial length on a heroic theme; they are multigeneric (they are composed of smaller generic forms, such as legend, genealogy recitation, songs, and praise-poems) and multifunctional…

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Janson, Marloes, “Representations: Legends, Epics, and Performance: West Africa”, in: Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, General Editor Suad Joseph. Consulted online on 07 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1872-5309_ewic_EWICCOM_0628>
First published online: 2009

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