Afro-Caribbean Poetry and Ritual

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Overview

Focusing on orally transmitted cultural forms in the Caribbean, this book reaffirms the importance of myth and symbol in folk consciousness as a mode of imaginative conceptualization. Paul A. Griffith cross-references Kamau Brathwaite and Derek Walcott’s postcolonial debates with issues at seminal sites where Caribbean imaginary insurgencies took root. This book demonstrates the ways residually oral forms distilled history, society, and culture to cleverly resist aggressions authored through colonialist ...

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Overview

Focusing on orally transmitted cultural forms in the Caribbean, this book reaffirms the importance of myth and symbol in folk consciousness as a mode of imaginative conceptualization. Paul A. Griffith cross-references Kamau Brathwaite and Derek Walcott’s postcolonial debates with issues at seminal sites where Caribbean imaginary insurgencies took root. This book demonstrates the ways residually oral forms distilled history, society, and culture to cleverly resist aggressions authored through colonialist presumptions. In an analysis of the archetypal patterns in the oral tradition—both literary and nonliterary, this impressive book gives insight into the way in which people think about the world and represent themselves in it.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Interested readers will no doubt approach this volume with the expectation of learning more about poets like Kamau Brathwaite and Derek Walcott, and they will not be disappointed."--Review of Texas Books

“Griffith’s scholarship is remarkably thorough. In using the notion of the tidealectic as his controlling trope, the author manages to link a vast body of oral tradition—both literary and nonliterary—to the primal natural archetype of island cultures. This is perhaps best demonstrated in his fascinating analysis of the symbolic patterns embodied in the Limbo dance—the ebb and flow, the death and resurrection—which becomes a metaphor for the Middle Passage, the hell of slavery, and the eventual rise of free, post-colonial cultures. As the author says, ‘It is this metaphorical rhythm of retrieval and advance, death and rebirth . . . that gives conceptual unity to a range of forms and styles in Caribbean residually oral art.’” —R. S. Gwynn, editor of the Penguin Pocket Anthology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230623644
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 4/15/2010
  • Pages: 236
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul A. Griffith is Professor of English at Lamar University. He is the author of several articles on Caribbean and African American literature and culture.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
• PART I: Mediating Sacred Time and Space
• The Limbo: Ritual Re-entry into History
• Shipwrecked in the Middle Passage: Limbo as Agon of Soul
• Folk Masques: Ritualizing Time and Space
• PART II: Oratorical Play
• Mythic Voices: Art as the Inheritance of Responsibility
• Lullabies and Children’s Games: Word as Genesis of Spirit
• Spiritual Adventure through Song
• Tales and Fables: Charting the Interstice
• Conclusion

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