The Voice of the Text and its Body

ISBN 978-3-89645-739-4
To presence of Euphrase Kezilahabi

The Voice of the Text and its Body

The Continuous Reform of Euphrase Kezilahabi’s Poetics

Author: Robert Gaudioso. With a preface by: Annmarie Drury. With an introduction by: Kai Kresse. Series edited by: Wilhelm J.G. Möhlig.

Series: Verbal Art and Documentary Literature in African Languages Volume 39

2019
306 pp.
7 colour photos, 1 b/w photo, 1 table, appendix: Kezilahabi’s unpublished poem of 2016
Text language(s): English
Format: 170 x 240 mm
640 g
Paperback
€ 36.80

The aim of this study is to provide a critical reading of the three poetic collections written in Swahili by Euphrase Kezila­habi (13 April 1944 – 9 January 2020). The author is not trying to avoid all the complexities of his poetics and thought, but rather seeks to cope with them and reflect upon them.

A simplification of Kezilahabi’s texts or a mere descriptive analysis of his poems would expose the author’s study of his poetics to textual objectification, i.e. regarding the text as an object, a finished and closed product. In agreement with Kezila­habi, Gaudioso believes that objectification should be kept out of literary interpretation. To all his questions, Gaudioso will add new ones, connections, implications, rather than solving them. Trying to be as clear as possible, Gaudioso will compare Kezilahabi with other writers in order to delineate the poetics of Kezilahabi not only in the light of Swahili literature, but also in its interconnections.

In the second chapter the author argues on the suitability of the comparative analysis and the usefulness of analogy in understanding. This approach, even though it multiplies the focuses, takes the text, texts and textuality as the central point of the analysis.

The following two reasons are used for the Gaudioso’s analogical approach:

1. the aim of his thesis is not to compare Kezilahabi with a particular author;

2. delineating his poetics using comparative analysis as a tool of investigation by analogy as defined in the second chapter.

The potential reader of the present work is a recipient of Kezilahabi’s poetry, which is neither easy nor clear, therefore, Gaudioso’s study does not substitute a plain “explanation” for a direct reading of the original texts of Kezilahabi. According to the author the academic works do not come before the (and sometimes in substitution of) reading of a text that will be analysed, but after their reading. Otherwise, the academic work would be not a service to literature, to word artistry, or to potential readers of a text, but a damage.

© 2020 by Rüdiger Köppe Verlag – www.koeppe.de

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