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Raymond Andrews as Griot: Privileging Southern Black Communities through Oral Storytelling and Cultural History

Keywords: United States , America , South , literature , oral storytelling

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Abstract:

Raymond Andrews’ novels celebrate rural Black life by focusing on the customs and traditions of Southern African American communities. Critical to this celebration are the rhetorical strategies Andrews uses that privilege oral over literary storytelling. Using Geneva Smitherman’s discussion of the griot and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s concept of the speakerly text in the context of John Miles Foley’s work on comparative oral traditions, this essay explores the possibility and implications of describing Andrews’ written work as a form of oral storytelling.

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