African Poetry of the Living Dead: Igbo Masquerade Poetry

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This is the first book-length translation and discussion of this sub-genre of Igbo oral poetry. The central position of the masquerade cult in Igbo religion, world view, culture and art makes this masquerade poetry relevant to the people's society, as well as instructive and entertaining in function. This work makes available for the first time what can be regarded as the high-water mark of Igbo oral poetry, as well as essays on the intellectual, socio-cultural, and literary background. It is a study not only in oral poetry but also Igbo traditional world view, beliefs, and culture.


". . . Egudu provides a lucid, sustained and comprehensive discussion of Igbo life and culture. He also makes a distinction between song and poetry, on the basis of verbalization, level of language and instrument. Scholars and students of folklore and ethnomusicology are likely to find this section of the book very interesting and rewarding. . . . His transcriptions of the poems from oral performances and translation of them into English are done with skill and sensitivity." - Onuora Osmond Enekwe

Table of Contents


Chapter I: General Introduction

Chapter II: Igbo-Masquerade Cult and Poetry

Chapter III: Okunaagbaachala-Masquerade Poetry

Chapter IV: Inyiagboaku-Masquerade Poetry

Chapter V: Odo-Masquerade Poetry

Works Cited


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