From Ritual to Art: The Aesthetics and Cultural Relevance of Igbo Satire

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University Press of America, Jan 1, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 180 pages
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The book investigates the development of Igbo satire from its ritual origins as a censure tool to its present function as an aesthetic/entertainment tool. The paradigm is Ihiala, an Igbo town in Anambra State of Nigeria. In tracing this development, the author has analysed the early form of satire in Ihiala and the factors that helped to change the context in which satire was practised. The ultimate cause of this development was the colonial contact- a factor that provided the impetus for the reappraisal of practically every aspect of the social system. Evidently, entertainment was not the sole objective of satire in early Igbo practice; satires were ritual practices that served a multitude of functions for the people and were never meant merely to entertain an audience. But events in Igbo history have helped to change the purpose of the ritual practices from their traditional utilitarian functions to entertainment. The investigation reveals that although the concept of a corrective social function for satire is apparent in the songs, amusement is equally appreciated and, indeed, may be the fundamental impulse of satirical expression. Satirical commentators and performers do not overtly attempt to reform the culprit; instead, their interest is centered on self expression and in the entertainment and amusement of the audience.

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About the author (2003)

Christine Nwakego Ohale, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of English, Chicago State University.

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