“A brilliant work. Yankah is to be commended for this study, important not only for proverb lore but also for Africanist studies that deal with methodological problems of general interest to comparative literature.”
—Patrick Kobina Kilson, Recherche Littéraire/Literary Research
“This work provides the most thorough understanding of the meaning of this particular speech form in the culture, thereby contributing to a fuller understanding of the whole process of cognition and negotiation, and to concepts of the self in Akan. It thus contributes to the understanding of Akan culture as much as to that of rhetoric and speech performance.... Yankah’s work is equally important to West African scholars.”
—Journal of Folklore Research
“Kwesi Yankah’s study may... be described unreservedly as a pearl of proverbs research.... The real fascination of this work lies in the combination of theoretical insight and ethnographic observations…”
—Regina Bendix, Schweizerisches Archiv für Volkskunde
This second edition of The Proverb in the Context of Akan Rhetoric comes twenty-two years after the first edition. Attracting renewed attention by a new generation of scholars, the book presents a comprehensive ethnography of proverb communication in an African culture and achieves a significant breakthrough in proverb studies. The author critically reviews the dynamics of the proverb, one verbal genre that embodies the high point of rhetoric in traditional and contemporary Africa, and explores in rich details the proverb's creative potential, authorship and effectiveness in crisis management. Yankah elevates the documentation of the African proverb beyond de-contextualized compilations, and portrays the proverb as a dynamic communicative strategy in which form, meaning and logic are in constant flux. The study, which focuses on the Akan of Ghana, situates the proverb in the heart of real life discourse interactions and monitors its rhetorical efficacy on the basis of indigenous aesthetics. The book will be of value to folklorists, sociolinguists, anthropologists, literary scholars and students of African studies and communications.
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