The Oral Tradition as Index: The Leitmotif of Music in the African-American Literary Imagination

Babacar Dieng

Abstract


The oral tradition forms part of the aesthetic pillars of African-American literature and the study of its presence in African-American literary works deserves more attention. This article shows how African-American creative artists have used their oral tradition, more specifically music, as an index to construct narrative contents, structure and decorate them, thus conferring them beauty, originality and complexity. It focuses on the deployment of the Jazz, the Blues and the slave secular and civil war songs in texts by Langston Hughes, Margaret Walker and Toni Morrison.


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