Djeli Mamoudou Kouyate Writing Styles in Sundiata

Djeli Mamoudou Kouyate
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Form and Style

Like many epics, Sundiata is meant to be sung and performed. The role of the griot in the production of the epic is paramount; he or she must embellish the language and make the story pleasing to the listeners. Sundiata does not appear to adhere to any regular meter of stresses or syllables, and most versions are told in everyday vernacular language. The audience does not participate, except to honor the griot with gifts at the end of the performance.

Language

The story of Sundiata appears in the oral literature of many West African tribes and in many languages. Djeli Mamoudou Kouyate recounted the tale to Djibril Tamsir Niane in Malinke, or Mandingo. Niane wrote down his words in that language, then translated the tale into French for its initial publication in 1960. G. D. Pickett translated the epic into English in 1965, working from Mane's published French...

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This section contains 821 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Sundiata Study Guide
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Epics for Students
Sundiata from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.