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Oral Literature in Africa

Ruth Finnegan

Note on Sources and References

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1Only the more obvious sources have been used. Where I have come across unpublished material I have taken account of it but have not made a systematic search. The sources are all documentary with the exception of some comments arising from fieldwork among the Limba of Sierra Leone and a few points from personal observation in Western Nigeria; gramophone recordings have also occasionally been used. In general, I have tried not to take my main examples from books that are already very easily accessible to the general reader. I have, for instance, given references to, but not lengthy quotations from, the ‘Oxford Library of African Literature’ series or the French ‘Classiques africains’.

2In time, I have not tried to cover work appearing after the end of 1967 (though references to a few 1968 publications that I happen to have seen are included). This means that the book will already be dated by the time it appears, but obviously I had to break off at some point.

3References are given in two forms: (1) the general bibliography at the end, covering works I have made particular use of or consider of particular importance (referred to in the text merely by author and date); and (2) more specialized works not included in the general bibliography (full references given ad loc.). This is to avoid burdening the bibliography at the end with too many references of only detailed or secondary relevance. With a handful of exceptions I have seen the works I cite. Where this is not so, I have indicated it either directly or by giving the source of the reference in brackets. Where I have seen an abstract but not the article itself, this is shown by giving the volume and number of African Abstracts (AA) in brackets after the reference.

4The bibliography and references are only selective. It would have been out of the question to have attempted a comprehensive bibliography.


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