Ethiopia Literature

Ethiopia Literature

Studies of ancient literature (in the Ge’ez language) continued copiously (editions and interpretation of texts, historical and literary and linguistic studies), essentially outside Ethiopia. The magical-religious and therapeutic literature in Ge’ez and Amharic has also been subjected to particular and in-depth research. Literature in modern languages ​​has had considerable development, with the new socialist-Marxist regime sanctioning the right of each ethnic group to have its own written language. The first application of this recognition took place through the adoption of local languages ​​for elementary teaching and for some written publications.

According to itypeusa.com, the maintenance of a single script, the Ethiopian, with suitable adaptations for all the local languages, however, has given rise to no small difficulties, which have led to debating the question of the use of the Latin alphabet. Even in the state public information media (press or radio) the use of other languages ​​than the official one has expanded. The oromo (galla) literature has been enriched thanks to publications of current political and social topics, promoted by the numerous and active group of galla in exile (especially in Europe). However, as expected, the literary field was dominated by the production in the official language, Amharic, subjected to a powerful and heavy lexical and expressive renewal, having to bend, in the many periodical and monographic publications, to spread Marxist socialist political theories. The serious problem was perceived in a peculiar way as soon as political writings had to be translated from European languages, with the consequence of urgently having to prepare terminological glossaries of politics and then, together, of applied sciences. Linked to this lexical aspect is the other, acutely felt, of the possibility of adequately transferring ” Western ” concepts into the Ethiopian language. The literature of invention has been reduced to little, and of that little a conspicuous part is affected by censorship and the application of the principles of socialist realism. In any case, it will be necessary to mention, for the period 1975-88, at least Ba’alu Germā, who, siding with the new ideals of political-social renewal, Oromāy (1983, “Oramai”), strongly polemic against men and systems of the Ethiopian political regime, immediately banned at home and spread clandestinely in Europe. Alongside Ba’alu Germā there are: Abiē Gubañā, already known for his unscrupulous and bitterly critical writings towards the political society of his country; Brăhanu Zaryĭhun, author, among other things, of a trilogy centered on the socialist revolution of 1974; Gabayyahu Ayyala; Yĭlmā Habtayas; Andārgiē Masfen; Yašiṭelạ Kwakkab; Māmmo Wŭdnah, also a prolific author of translations and adaptations of foreign works. Also very recent is another voluminous narrative work, Ialmežāt (“Dreams”), by Haddis Alamāyyahu, a much appreciated writer, who continues to address his reflection on the vices and virtues of traditional Ethiopian society. In 1974-75 a composition in verse was published, and immediately removed from circulation, alluding to Ethiopian political-social current events, which follows the most sincere literary tradition, due to rās Emmeru H̱āyla Sellāsē, written in 1942 in the island of Lipari, where he was held in confinement by the Italian government.

As for the theater, we know of productions in the Amharic language, including some translations or adaptations by ” Western ” authors, which are performed in urban theaters (of various types) (especially, and mainly in Addìs Abebà), or transmitted on the radio or television. Much of this production is marked by the rhetoric of revolutionary themes and is artistically very immature. In more recent years, these topics have been running out and theatrical production is in a serious phase of stagnation.

Ethiopia Literature

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