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Research Colloquium

JF Emiliano Minerba to present on 4 May 2021

4 May 2021. 14 c.t. via Zoom


Stylistic Analysis in African Literature: Some Theoretical Considerations

(Emiliano Minerba, PhD candidate UBT)

My research aims at investigating the historical development of the prosodies of Swahili and Wolof literatures. Both in time and space, these two traditions have developed really far from each other but they have in common a strong influence received from the Arabic prosodic systems (both classical and vernacular). The quest to isolate in them the Arabic influence from the local elements has led me to reflect on how─ from a theoretical point of view─ one can effectuate stylistic analysis in this context. In many traditions, including Swahili and Wolof prior to Arabic influence, verse does not follow a definite metre and would be “free verse” in a Western terminology. Thus, it is difficult to state if verse─ in a Western conception─ exists: if it is marked in oral performance, should we consider it as a musical, rather than a literary, phenomenon? Or does it exist beyond performance, so that we should see it as an object of entextualisation? These questions need to be answered to provide a theoretical background to stylistic investigations, a field which has so far been scarcely investigated in research on Swahili and Wolof literary traditions.

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