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Daryll Forde (ed.)
Studies in the cosmological ideas and social values of African peoples (1954) New introduction by Wendy James
This volume consists of nine studies, each describing the world outlook of an African people as expressed in their myths of creation, traditions of origin, and religious beliefs. The studies are concerned with such widely divergent systems of thought as the complex metaphysical system of the Dogon of French West Africa, the magical cults of the Abuluyia of Kenya, the religious practices of the Lele of Kasai, in which the forest plays a dominant part, the secret societies of the Mende, and the ancestor cult of the Ashanti. The authors show how closely concepts of the divine ordering of the universe are related to the organization of society and the everyday activities of men, so that the enthronement of a king or chief, the brewing of beer, the building of a granary, the organization of a hunt, all have symbolic significance and are accompanied by appropriate rituals. The wealth of imagery and symbolism displayed in many of these myths, and the subtlety of the metaphysical concepts, will be a revelation to those who have not studied the thought of so-called primitive societies.
Rarely out of print since it was first published in 1954, this new edition has an introduction by Professor Wendy James of the Institute of Cultural and Social Anthropology, Oxford.
Introduction, Daryll Forde; The Lele of Kasai, Mary Douglas; The Abaluyia of Kavirondo (Kenya), Gunter Wagner; The Lovedu of the Transvaal, J. D. Krige/E. J. Krige; The Dogon of the French Sudan, Marcel Griaule/Germaine Dieterlen; The Mende in Sierra Leone, Kenneth Little; The Shilluk of the Upper Nile, Godfrey Lienhardt; The Kingdom of Ruanda, J. J. Maquet; The Ashanti of the Golden Coast, K. A. Busia; The Fon of Dahomey, P. Mercier.
Daryll Forde was Professor of Anthropology, University London and Director of the International African Institute.