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Studies in African and medieval European mysticism

Finnian Ndukwuegbulem Nwaozor, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

“Studies in African and Medieval European Mysticism”, focusing partially on the overlap between literature and theology, is an attempt to analyze European Medieval and African mysticism. The study argues that there is an authentic African mystical tradition based on African ontology and represented in African literature. The study compares the various mystical symbols found in the African mystical tradition with its Medieval European counterpart. ^ The first chapter contends that no definition of mysticism has paid complete attention to its intricate and varied elements, especially, to its multiple traditions and foundations. It goes on to suggest, as a working tool, a definition (explanation) that incorporates the unique elements from several mystical traditions, the African tradition included. ^ Using this definition as a guide, chapter two, on the assumption that mysticism belongs to all races, cultures and religion (counteracting opinions to the contrary), pinpoints some mystical symbols manifest in most of the narrative and poetic works by indigenous African writers like Thomas Mofolo, Chinua Achebe, Elechi Amadi, John Pepper Clark, Kwesi Brew, Wole Soyinka, Gabriel Okara, Christopher Okigbo et cetera. Similarly, chapter three highlights comparable mystical symbols found in literary works by Medieval European writers, Chretien de Troyes and Geoffrey Chaucer. ^ Satisfied with this discovery of the presence of analogous mystical symbols in the two traditions, chapter four, the last chapter, goes ahead to compare and contrast two mystical flights found in the two traditions under examination, specifically, in the works of Amos Tutuola (African) and Dante Alighieri (Medieval European)—their narrative styles, choice of symbols, literary strategies, and the structural purposes of their mystical flights. ^

Subject Area

Literature, Comparative|Literature, Medieval|Literature, Romance|Literature, African|Religion, History of|Literature, English

Recommended Citation

Nwaozor, Finnian Ndukwuegbulem, "Studies in African and medieval European mysticism" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3045528.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3045528

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