Comparative Literature | Special Topics in Comparative Literature
C611 | 26924 | Prof. Adesokan


C611 (26924)meets with CMLT-C301
Special Topics in Comparative Literature: Folklore and
Magical/Animist Realism

Professor A. Adesokan
MW 1:00-2:15 BH 319

The publication of Ben Okri’s The Famished Road in 1991 marked an
important moment in the re-direction of modern African literature
from strictly realist modes, forcing comparison with the South
American tradition of magical realism. Yet, an earlier tradition
of “animist realism” was also at work, one strongly based on
folklore and oral storytelling. Tracing the points of contact
between the “Latin boom” and contemporary traditions of animist
realism in different parts of Africa, this course examines the
transformative impact of folklore, oral narrative, and other forms
on this influential literary tendency, especially in their
relationships to issues of morality (religious and otherwise),
power, censorship, and social attitudes to technological changes.
Readings may include John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Daniel
Fagunwa’s Forest of a Thousand Daemons [Soyinka’s translation], Amos
Tutuola’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s
Innocent Erendira, Ben Okri’s The Famished Road, Isabel Allende’s
House of the Spirits, Biyi Bandele’s The Sympathetic Undertaker and
Other Dreams, Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, and Kojo Laing’s Woman of
the Aeroplane.