Black Africa: Literature and Language by Vladimír Klíma, Karel František Růžička, Petr Zima (auth.)

By Vladimír Klíma, Karel František Růžička, Petr Zima (auth.)

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Additional info for Black Africa: Literature and Language

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It seems unnecessary to characterize here the main differences in both the form and substance of these two types of literature, which are described in detail in the respective sections of this book. 1 The factors affecting the choice of a language for literary purposes appear, therefore, in a much broader light. One may be tempted to correlate the language abilities and capacities of readers in the situations analyzed with the social and economic stratifications of African communities; such a correlation is undoubtedly at least partly responsible for the stratification of the two types of literatures.

As they have realized that many of the vernacular publications are (or were) produced by small administrative or missionary printing-shops and editing centres or local printers, and are available only to certain sections of the community in question (see further remarks on the distribution problem), they have always tended to produce their works either bilingually or to publish subsequent English abridgements and re-editions for the broader public. Moreover, most of these authors have had at least a reasonable knowledge of African literature published in English.

L. Pike's matrices in linguistics (cf. Pike, 1960): only a complementary analysis of the data through all such matrices may bring us closer to an understanding of the reality concerned. If the literary history and literary criticism of Black Africa is to achieve its task in this sense, it must approach certain aspects of Mrican literature, hitherto unrecorded in "official" literary magazines and critical columns, through direct field research comparable to the methods used in Mrica (as in other areas) by researchers into language and oral traditions.

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