The Girl Who Married a Lion by Alexander McCall SmithGathered here is a beguiling selection of folktales from Zimbabwe and Botswana as retold by the best-selling author of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. This treasury contains most of the stories previously collected in Children of Wax and seven new tales from the Setswana-speaking people of Botswana. A girl discovers that her young husband might actually be a lion in disguise, but not before they have two sons who might actually be cubs . . . When a child made of wax follows his curiosity outside into the heat of daylight and melts, his siblings shape him into a bird with feathers made of leaves that enable him to fly into the light . . . Talking hyenas, milk-giving birds, clever cannibals who nonetheless get their comeuppance, and mysterious forces that reside in the landscape—these wonderful fables bring us the wealth, the variety, and the particular magic of traditional African lore.
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The Transatlantic Zombie by Sarah J. LauroOur most modern monster and perhaps our most American, the zombie that is so prevalent in popular culture today has its roots in African soul capture mythologies. The Transatlantic Zombie provides a more complete history of the zombie than has ever been told, explaining how the myth's migration to the New World was facilitated by the transatlantic slave trade, and reveals the real-world import of storytelling, reminding us of the power of myths and mythmaking, and the high stakes of appropriation and homage. Beginning with an account of a probable ancestor of the zombie found in the Kongolese and Angolan regions of seventeenth-century Africa and ending with a description of the way, in contemporary culture, new media are used to facilitate zombie-themed events, Sarah Juliet Lauro plots the zombie's cultural significance through Caribbean literature, Haitian folklore, and American literature, film, and the visual arts. The zombie entered US consciousness through the American occupation of Haiti, the site of an eighteenth-century slave rebellion that became a war for independence, thus making the figuration of living death inseparable from its resonances with both slavery and rebellion. Lauro bridges African mythology and US mainstream culture by articulating the ethical complications of the zombie as a cultural conquest that was rebranded for the American cinema. As The Transatlantic Zombie shows, the zombie is not merely a bogeyman representing the ills of modern society, but a battleground over which a cultural war has been fought between the imperial urge to absorb exotic, threatening elements, and the originary, Afro-diasporic culture's preservation through a strategy of mythic combat.
Publication Date: 2015
How to Read a Folktale by Lee Haring"How to Read a Folktale offers the first English translation of Ibonia, a spellbinding tale of old Madagascar. Ibonia is a folktale on epic scale. Much of its plot sounds familiar: a powerful royal hero attempts to rescue his betrothed from an evil adversary and, after a series of tests and duels, he and his lover are joyfully united with a marriage that affirms the royal lineage. These fairytale elements link Ibonia with European folktales, but the tale is still very much a product of Madagascar. It contains African-style praise poetry for the hero; it presents Indonesian-style riddles and poems; and it inflates the form of folktale into epic proportions. Recorded when the Malagasy people were experiencing European contact for the first time, Ibonia proclaims the power of the ancestors against the foreigner. Through Ibonia, Lee Haring expertly helps readers to understand the very nature of folktales. His definitive translation, originally published in 1994, has now been fully revised to emphasize its poetic qualities, while his new introduction and detailed notes give insight into the fascinating imagination and symbols of the Malagasy. Haring's research connects this exotic narrative with fundamental questions not only of anthropology but also of literary criticism."--Publisher's website
Publication Date: 2013
The Drunken King, or, the Origin of the State by Luc de Heusch"... de Heusch has achieved a significant advance over Lévi-Strauss's formulations.... [A] landmark contribution to anthropological theory, historical methodology, structural analysis, and African studies." --Choice A major work that modifies and extends Lévi-Straussian myth analysis in profound and exciting ways. Roy Willis's masterful translation makes technical terms accessible to the general reader.