Epilogue: The Mythic Storyteller: Word-Power and Ambivalence


Theatre & Performance Studies

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The rise of interest in African oral traditions throughout the last quarter of the twentieth century inspired by Ruth Finnegan's pioneering work resulted in a substantial body of scholarship addressing the figure of the griot. This essay considers the unique nature and function of the griot in Mali, describes the griot's social position based upon the efficacy of word-power, and argues that the griot, who holds an intensely ambivalent status, may best be understood as a storyteller who assumes the resonance of a mythic figure.