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Pacéré as the demiurge of orature

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Abstract:

Not all unwritten literatures are oral literatures. They would more appropriately be referred to as “spoken literatures”, in the wider sense of literatures that use different means of communication (mouth, gestures, body movement, instruments). The dumb “speak” with signs. Pio Zirimu proposed the term “orature” to palliate the alleged contradiction in the phrase “oral literature” or “spoken literature”. However, as a result of in-depth studies that revealed that before writing, there was a literature, which was spoken, many literary critics prefer the traditional phrase “oral literature” instead of the suggested term “orature”. The term “orature” has been taken up in performance studies to designate a genre of written literature at the cusp between spoken and written literatures, referring to written fictions that mix different performing genres. This paper aims at defining orature with an illustration from the poetry of Frédéric Titinga Pacéré and, consequently, to present him as the demiurge of this innovative genre in emerging Burkinabè literature. The implications of the genre of orature are manifold. Orature calls for a redefinition of literature as whatever a given society considers as literature. It demands an interpretation of literature based on an understanding of culture.

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