Black History Culture : Towards a "canon" of Classical African Literature

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by delsydebothom, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. delsydebothom

    delsydebothom Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This is really just an invitation to list works that would qualify as exemplars of African literature. Such a list might include complete works, or even modern compilations of ancient folktales, poems, and proverbs.
     
  2. LindaChavis

    LindaChavis Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I thought

    this was interesting:

    African American Writers from 1746-1999

    1746. Terry, Lucy, " Bars Fight."
    1760. The Narrative of the Uncommon Sufferings and Surprizing Deliverance of Briton Hammon, a Negro Man
    *****Hammon, Jupiter, " An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ, with Penitential Cries. "
    1773. Wheatley, Phyllis, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral.
    1789. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano..., Written by Himself.
    1837. Séjour, Victor," Le Mulatre." The earliest known work of African American fiction. The first translation of it appears in
    The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, pp.287-299 (" The Mulatto")
    1845. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.
    1847. Narrative of William W. Brown, A Fugitive Slave.
    1849. Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave.
    1850. Narrative of Sojourner Truth.
    1853. Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northrup.
    1857. Steward, Austin, Twenty-two Years a Slave and Forty Years a Freeman.
    1859. Delaney, Martin L., Blake, or the Huts of America.
    *****Wilson, Harriet E., Our Nig, or Sketches from the Life of a Free Black.
    1861. [ Jacobs, Harriet A.] Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Written by Herself..
    1869. Harper, Frances E.W., Minnie's Sacrifice.
    1880. Harris, Joel Chandler, Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings. Harris Home Page from PAL.
    1881. An Autobiography of The Reverend Josiah Henson ( "Uncle Tom" ).
    1890. Johnson, Mrs. A.E., Clarence and Corinne; or, God's Way.
    1894. Johnson, Mrs. A.E., The Hazeley Family .
    1896. DuBois, W.E.B., The Suppression of the African Slave Trade.
    *****Dunbar, Paul Laurence, Lyrics of Lowly Life.
    1899. Chesnutt, Charles W., The Conjure Woman and Other Tales.
    1901. Washington, Booker T., Up From Slavery.
    1912. Johnson, James Weldon, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man.
    c.1920-c.1935 The Harlem Renaissance
    1923. Toomer, Jean, Cane.
    1924. Fauset, Jessie, There is Confusion.
    *****White, Walter, Fire in the Flint.
    1925. Cullen, Countee, Color.
    *****Locke, Alain, The New Negro:An Interpretation.
    *****The Survey Graphic Harlem Number.
    1926. Handy, W.C.,ed., Blues: An Anthology.
    *****Hughes, Langston, The Weary Blues.
    1927. Adams, Edward C.L., Congaree Sketches.
    *****Fisher, Rudolph, Walls of Jericho.
    1928. Adams, Edward C.L., ****** to ******.
    *****Larsen, Nella, Quicksand.
    *****McKay, Claude, Home to Harlem.
    1929. Thurman, Wallace, The Blacker the Berry.
    1931. Schuyler, George, Black No More.
    1932. Brown, Sterling A., Southern Road.
    *****Fisher, Rudolph, The Conjure Man Dies: A Mystery Tale of Dark Harlem.
    1934. Hurston, Zora Neale, Jonah's Gourd Vine.
    1936. Bontemps, Arna, Black Thunder.
    1938. Wright, Richard, Uncle Tom's Children.
    1941. Brown, Sterling, Arthur P. Davis, and Ulysses Lee, The Negro Caravan.
    1944 Tolson, Melvin, Rendezvous with America.
    1945. Botkin, B.A., Lay My Burden Down .
    *****Brooks, Gwendolyn, A Street in Bronzeville.
    *****Himes, Chester, If He Hollers, Let Him Go.
    1946. Petry, Ann, The Street.
    *****Yerby, Frank, The Foxes of Harrow.
    1947. Motley, Willard, Knock on Any Door.
    1950. Redding, Saunders, They Came in Chains: Americans from Africa.
    1952. Ellison, Ralph, Invisible Man.
    1953. Baldwin, James, Go Tell It on the Mountain.
    *****Tolson, Melvin B., Libretto for the Republic of Liberia.
    1954. Killens, John O., Youngblood.
    1957. Simmons, Herbert, Corner Boy.
    1958. King, Martin Luther, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom.
    1959. Hansberry, Lorraine, A Raisin in the Sun.
    *****Marshall, Paule, Brown Girl, Brownstones.
    1960. Brooks, Gwendolyn, The Bean Eaters.
    *****Williams, John A., The Angry Ones.
    1961. Baraka, Amiri (Le Roi Jones) from PAL, Preface to a 20 Volume Suicide Note.
    1962. Hayden, Robert, from Modern American Poetry A Ballad of Remembrance.
    *****Perry, Charles, Portrait of a Young Man Drowning.
    1963. King, Martin Luther, " Letter from Birmingham Jail. " ***** Strength to Love.
    *****Parks, Gordon, The Learning Tree.
    1964. Gaines, Ernest J., Catherine Carmier.
    *****Baraka, Amiri (Le Roi Jones), The Dead Lecturer.
    *****King, Martin Luther, Why We Can't Wait.
    1965. Brown, Claude, Manchild in the Promised Land.
    *****Baraka, Amiri (Le Roi Jones), The System of Dante's Hell.
    *****Tolson, Melvin B., Harlem Gallery.
    *****Autobiography of Malcolm X. With Alex Haley.
    1966. Hayden, Robert, Selected Poems.
    *****Baraka, Amiri (Le Roi Jones), Home.
    *****Walker, Margaret, Jubilee.
    1967. Baraka, Amiri (Le Roi Jones), Tales.
    *****Reed, Ishmael, The Free-Lance Pall Bearers.
    *****Wideman, John E., A Glance Away.
    1968. Cleaver, Eldridge, Soul on Ice.
    *****Gaines, Ernest J., Bloodline.
    *****Giovanni, Nikki, Black Feeling, Black Talk.
    *****Lorde, Audre, The First Cities
    1970. Angelou, Maya (Voices From the Gaps), I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
    *****Brown, Cecil, The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass ******.
    *****Evans, Mari, I Am a Black Woman.
    *****Wideman, John Edgar, Hurry Home.
    1971. Angelou, Maya, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie.
    *****Gaines, Ernest J., The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.
    *****Killens, John O., The Cotillion; or, One Good Bull is Half the Herd.
    *****Morrison, Toni, The Bluest Eye.
    1972. Bambara, Toni Cade, Gorilla, My Love.
    *****Reed, Ishmael, Mumbo Jumbo.
    1973. Walker, Alice, Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems.
    *****Wideman, John Edgar, The Lynchers.
    1974. Angelou, Maya, Gather Together in My Name.
    1975. Angelou, Maya, Oh Pray My Wings are Gonna Fit Me Well.
    *****Hayden, Robert, Angle of Ascent.
    *****Jones, Gayl, Corregidora.
    1976. Angelou, Maya, Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas.
    *****Haley, Alex, Roots.
    *****Jones, Gayl, Eva's Man.
    1977. Bambara, Toni Cade, The Sea-Birds are Still Alive.
    *****Cleaver, Eldridge, Soul on Fire.
    *****Jones, Gayl, White Rat.
    1978. Gaines, Ernest J., In My Father's House.
    1979. Jeffers, Lance, Grandsire.
    1980. Bambara, Toni Cade, The Salt-Eaters.
    *****Dove, Rita, The Yellow House on the Corner.
    *****Shange, Ntozake, Nappy Edges.
    1981. Evans, Mari, Nightstar.
    *****Jones, Gayl, Song for Anninho.
    1982. Hayden, Robert, American Journal.
    *****Naylor, Gloria, The Women of Brewster Place.
    *****Shange, Ntozake, Sassafras, Cypress, and Indigo.
    1983. Angelou, Maya, Shaker, Why Don't You Sing ?.
    *****Gaines, Ernest J., A Gathering of Old Men.
    *****Jones, Gayl, The Hermit-Woman.
    1984. Baraka, Amira, The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones.
    *****Daggers and Javelins.
    1985. Jones, Gayl, Xarque and Other Poems.
    ***** Kincaid, Jamaica, Annie John.
    *****Wilson, August, Fences.
    1987. Bambara, Toni Cade, If Blessing Comes.
    *****McMillan, Terry, Mama.
    1988. Ellis, Trey, Platitudes.
    1990. Walker, Margaret, How I Wrote Jubilee and Other Essays.
    *****Wideman, John Edgar, Philadelphia Fire.
    1992. Morrison, Toni, Jazz.
    1993. Reed, Ishmael, Japanese By Spring.
    1994. Wideman, John Edgar, Fatheralong.
    1996. Wideman, John Edgar, The Cattle Killing.
    1998. Morrison, Toni, Paradise.
    1999. Williams, John A, Clifford's Blues.

    http://frank.mtsu.edu/~vvesper/afam.html
     
  3. delsydebothom

    delsydebothom Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Plenty of public-domain goodies in that list! But I was thinking more along the lines of continental African work.

    Europe, for instance, has its "canon" which, with some variation, includes the works of e.g., Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, Cicero, Virgil, Bede, Aquinas, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, Descartes, Dickens, and many others. Also included would be works that did not originate in Europe, but exerted profound influence on it (e.g., Sacred Scripture, which is of course Middle Eastern, and the works of St. Augustine of Hippo, the African Bishop). Since all of these authors were members of the species Homo Sapiens--which is an African species--Africa can still claim each of them as her own. But what about work composed in Africa proper? The Epic of Sundiata would certainly be included on such a list.

    The oral literature in Africa is, from what I hear, varied and rich. I'd sure like to know more about it, and what examples of it have been committed to writing.
     
  4. RAPTOR

    RAPTOR Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    That maybe.

    But does that, in your opinion, make them afrikan in culture/world view?

    As well as drawing (and even starting) on your own intellectual heritage, it is suggested,
    and I agree with the suggestion, that we "draw on the intellectual heritage of the whole world".
     
  5. delsydebothom

    delsydebothom Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Africa is hardly homogeneous itself; the marked difference between the world view of the Khoisan and the surrounding culture is evidence enough for that.

    I would certainly be willing to suggest, though, that the political border we put between Africa and the rest of the world is man-made. Who decided Israel wasn't part of Africa? Or Syria? Or the entire Middle East? The division is cultural, to be sure, but the difference in culture between Northeast Africa and the Middle East is no more stark than the difference between the cultures of Kenya and Morocco, respectively.

    I think that Africa can claim all human cultures as her own, since all cultures are those of an irreversibly African species. Nevertheless, the usefulness of labeling regions into meta-geographical categories is immense, as it allows us to appreciate more easily the many varied ways in which this African species has expressed its experiences around the world.

    Regardless, a literary canon from Africa, the motherland of all peoples, would be immensely valuable to the development of persons all across the globe; embodied in it would be the unique observations of people who have gained their wisdom from a very unique land.
     
  6. RAPTOR

    RAPTOR Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Agreed, afrika is not homogenous.

    There are however, some things that many, virtually all, afrikan cultures, prior to the invasion of outsiders, had in common.

    Culturally speaking:

    There were no prostitutes.

    There were no old-folks home.

    There were no orphans/orphanage.

    The woman's role were far more revered/respected.

    There were no such thing as jails.

    Somewhere between the works of john henrik clarke's ("My life in the search of africa"/"great and mighty walk"), cheihk anta diop ("precolonial africa") and chancellor williams ("the destruction of civilzation") have drawn similar, if not the same, conclusions.

    You may still feel/believe that afrika can claim each for her own.

    I would then only suggest that afrika, and the afrikan -diasporic and continental, be careful of what we 'claim' as our own.

    History shows that 'all' is not in our interest.
     
  7. delsydebothom

    delsydebothom Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    As with all things, one must pick out what is good and discard the rest.

    Let's take a hypothetical example: Romans did many horrendous things, but not everything they did was horrendous (and not all Romans did them). Among the good things Romans did is design a brilliant series of aqueducts that allowed them to channel water to places where it would otherwise be very difficult to obtain. Now I don't think anyone would cry foul if someone wanted to use Roman technology to bring water to places in Africa where people are hurting for it.

    I've actually contemplated pursuing a project like that. I might someday, if I can raise the money, and the red tape isn't too hard to cut through. The biggest obstacle, though, is that my wife and I have a 1-year-old son!

    But I digress!

    The point is that a few bad eggs can have a hideously disproportionate effect.
     
  8. RAPTOR

    RAPTOR Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I don't think we disagree much.

    However, I think your making my point.

    When you mention rome and their their technology, you are speaking of rome as its own entity. Not as one that is of afrika/afrikan.

    Here's my hypothetical:

    If you have a child and the child makes automobile, is that your automobile?

    Certainly, you can claim your child, but can you claim the automobile as
    your invention?

    Even if you may have given your child some ideas to run
    with, does that make it your automobile? The ideas that when in to the
    invention of the automobile may be yours, but does that make the automobile, yours?
     
  9. delsydebothom

    delsydebothom Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The first thing that comes to mind here is the distinction between formal and material predication. You can say, for instance, that:

    Me=human
    My son=human

    Therefore human made the car.

    On the other hand, this is not formal predication, but material predication. As you pointed out, I=/=my son. So it is not my automobile in any absolute sense.

    Our entire family, however, can take pride in saying that our family made the automobile because, through the instrumentality of my son, we did. It would be a "Sydebothom" invention.
     
  10. RAPTOR

    RAPTOR Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Okay then.

    When the next human murders someone and go to prison,
    I expect you to be along side him/her, deal -human?

    It would be a "Sydebothom" murder/conviction, no?:em2300:


    In speaking for myself, my ride, is absolutely and in every way conceivable, not my parents ride,lol.
     
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