The Hero with an African Face: Mythic Wisdom of Traditional Africa by Clyde W. Ford. I have been hunkered down with lots of work, but just rememebered a book that was discussed at Faerie Escape a few weeks ago. I'm not as astute in Joseph Campbell's philosophies since I work primarily with fairy tales instead of myths, but his work continues to be very influential as well as problematic in the world of folklore in general. This book helps fill in a few of the gaps from what I have been told and read, although I haven't read the book itself yet. It is now on my list though! I wanted to share it here before it fell off my radar again, at least for a while.
Book description from the publisher:
In this remarkable book, Clyde Ford restores to us the lost treasure of African mythology, bringing to life the ancient tales and showing why they matter so much to us today.
African myths convey the perennial wisdom of humanity: the creation of the world, the hero's journey, our relationship with nature, death, and resurrection. From the Ashanti comes the moving account of the grief-stricken Kwasi Benefo's journey to the underworld to seek his beloved wives. From Uganda we learn of the legendary Kintu, who won the love of a goddess and created a nation from a handful of isolated clans. The Congo's epic hero Mwindo is the sacred warrior who shows us the path each person must travel to discover his true destiny.
These and other important African myths show us the history of African Americans in a new light--as a hero's journey, a courageous passage to a hard-won victory. The Hero with an African Face enriches us all by restoring this vital tradition to the world.
From from Publishers Weekly:
Extending the sensibility of Joseph Campbell, Ford exposes readers to African myths and folk tales, finding that they harbor both culturally specific and universal motifs. Ford (Where Healing Waters Meet) has a diverse background in business, chiropractic, psychotherapy and African-American history. He recounts many traditional African stories, exploring their metaphors, symbols and archetypal figures, their answers to the timeless questions of how to live, how life began and how it will end. While these tales have been notoriously absent from world literature, they are strikingly similar to Eastern, Western and Middle-Eastern mythology in many ways. As Ford splices the myths with his engaging analyses of them, he illuminates universal themes and values, symbols and characters. Applying the hero's journey to the African diaspora ("the massive forceful displacement of millions of Africans"), he ruminates: "there is every reason to believe that African slaves... understood their capture and travails in just such mythic terms." Likely to find its way into college classrooms, Ford's comprehensive work supplies a missing piece of world mythology.
So is anyone else familiar with this book? It has been highly recommended to me and I look forward to adding it to my library someday soon.