East Africa

Ethiopia Literature

According to areacodesexplorer, the most ancient testimonies of Ethiopian literature are constituted by historical inscriptions of the kings of Axum (especially of the king Ezānā, first half of the 4th century AD). The ancient Ethiopian language (geʽez) is used only in the most recent inscriptions (from the mid-4th century AD onwards) while the most remote are in Greek or South Arabian. With the introduction of Christianity in Ethiopia by Syrian monks (end of the 5th century) a real literature in the Geʽez language begins. The basic texts of the Christian Church are translated: the books of the Old and New Testament, as well as a large number of apocryphals (Book of Enoch, Book of Jubilees, Book of Isaiah’s Ascension, Apocalypse of Mary), important because of some of them the Ethiopian literature has preserved the only complete text that has come down to us. In the same period fundamental works for monasticism are translated, such as the Life of St. Anthony, the Life of St. Paul the hermit, the Rule of St. Pachomius, founder of cenobism. From the century VII to XIII the Ethiopian literature suffered a setback determined by a crisis situation inside the country. With the restoration of the Solomonid dynasty (ca. 1270) began a period of artistic flourishing, perhaps the most interesting of all Ethiopian literary history. Notable works are the Glory of the Kings, with an historical-allegorical, apocalyptic character on the origin of the Solomonid dynasty, the History of the wars of the negus ʽAmda Syon, dedicated to the victories of the negus over the finite Muslim principles, the Book of the mysteries of heaven and earth, of an initiatic and esoteric character, the Story of Alexander, inspired by the story of Alexander the Greatof the Pseudo Callisthenes. The sec. XV is dominated by the strong personality of the negus Zara Jakob who had to fight against the intrigues of his own court and against the heresies of the Mikaelites and the Stefanites, while, on the outside, he resumed the fight against the Muslims. Vast anti-heretical compilations such as the Book of Light date from this period, the Book of the Nativity, attributed to Zara but certainly written by the clergymen of the court. Commemorative and religious poetry and hagiographic literature also asserted themselves: the Book of Miracles of Mary is important, translation from Arabic of a collection of stories originally born in France. In the sec. XVI Ethiopia suffered the Muslim invasions and galla: the real Chronicles, the abbreviated Chronicle, the History of the Galla are a dramatic account of the losses and destruction of those wars. At the same time, the translation work continued, especially from Arabic, of works on religious subjects. The translation of the well-known is owed to Abbot Embakom of Debra Libanos Book of Barlaam and Giosafat already widespread in the various languages ​​of Christian countries. From the second half of the century. XVIII, for more than a hundred years Ethiopia went through a period of great political and economic decline which naturally reflected on culture and only with Theodore II did the literary awakening begin. Literature in geʽez, stuck on traditional schemes, definitively gave way to literature in Amharic (Real Chronicles, which tell the story of Theodore II; Cronaca dello Scioa). With the sec. XX began the modern literature in Amharic, which finds its major representatives in Gabre Yesus Afework (1868-1945) and in Heruy Wolda Sellāsè (ca. 1878-1939). Afework, author of a life of Menelik II and of the first Ethiopian novel (Fantasia), was able to blend the rich tradition of his land with the contributions of European culture. Literature in geʽez it is confined to a school imitation while there is a lively production in Amharic, influenced by Western Europe, but also inspired by a rethinking of tradition in modern terms and a national awareness. The writers of the second half of the twentieth century are very attached to the themes of morality and patriotism; with the ascension to the throne of the king Selassie a strong impulse was given to Amharic literature. Among the best known writers of this period we can mention Makonnen Endalkachew (1890-1963), author of allegorical novels and plays, Kebede Mikael (biographer and playwright and Tekle Tsodeq Makuria (novelist). In the 1960s, a realistic, oriented literature appeared. towards the analysis of psychological conflicts and a socio-political problematic. Talented writers, such as the novelists Zerihun Berhanu (b. 1933) and Asfa Wesen Asres (b. 1936), the storytellers L. Taddes and Nemo Beka, the playwright Menghistu Lemma (1925-1988). A literature in English has also developed, represented, among others, by the playwright Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin (1936-2006), who stands out for the power of images and the beauty of language, by the novelist Ashenafi Kebede (1938-1998).), by the historian Zewde Gabre-Sellassie (b.1926) and by the poet Solomon Deressa, whose verses go beyond national horizons to express the universal man. One of the most interesting contemporary figures is undoubtedly Martha Nassibou (b.1931), who lived in Italy and then in France, who in her book A literature in English has also developed, represented, among others, by the playwright Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin (1936-2006), who stands out for the power of images and the beauty of language, by the novelist Ashenafi Kebede (1938-1998).), by the historian Zewde Gabre-Sellassie (b.1926) and by the poet Solomon Deressa, whose verses go beyond national horizons to express the universal man. One of the most interesting contemporary figures is undoubtedly Martha Nassibou (b.1931), who lived in Italy and then in France, who in her book A literature in English has also developed, represented, among others, by the playwright Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin (1936-2006), who stands out for the power of images and the beauty of language, by the novelist Ashenafi Kebede (1938-1998).), by the historian Zewde Gabre-Sellassie (b.1926) and by the poet Solomon Deressa, whose verses go beyond national horizons to express the universal man. One of the most interesting contemporary figures is undoubtedly Martha Nassibou (b.1931), who lived in Italy and then in France, who in her book 1926) and by the poet Solomon Deressa, whose verses go beyond national horizons to express the universal man. One of the most interesting contemporary figures is undoubtedly Martha Nassibou (b.1931), who lived in Italy and then in France, who in her book 1926) and by the poet Solomon Deressa, whose verses go beyond national horizons to express the universal man. One of the most interesting contemporary figures is undoubtedly Martha Nassibou (b.1931), who lived in Italy and then in France, who in her book Memoirs of an Ethiopian Princess (2005) describes her childhood in Ethiopia and her youth in Italy during the fascist period.

Ethiopia Literature