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|Title: ||THE ORIGIN .AND DEVELOPMENT OF AMHARIC LITERATURE|
|Authors: ||Assefa, Aregahegne|
|Advisors: ||Dr. Hailu Araaya|
|Copyright: ||May-1981 |
|Date Added: ||24-Nov-2012 |
|Abstract: ||A considerable number of studies of Amharic literature
have been written by Ethiopian as well as foreign scholars.
Studies by Ethiopians are v.ry fragmentary and those by foreigners
reveal distortions. This thesis attempts to overcome ~
these problems of fragmentation and distortion in the study of
Amharic literature. The topic is very vast and the thesis is
necessarily a very condensed survey of the development of Amharic
literature along with a critical analysis of epoch-making Amharic
novels, plays and poetical works.
Compared to other African and even European countries,
Ethiopia has a very old literary tradition. Although the masses
~f the people still remain illiterate, literacy and hence the art
of writing has its roots in Ethiopian antiquity. Ethiopia's
earlie$~ li~ra~ures were written in Geez, a classical language
that persisted until the middle of the twentieth century and
still lingers around churches and monastries. Written Amharic
literature made its first appearance around 1300 but actually
started to flourish only at the beginning of the present century.
The first Amharic novel, Afawar~ Gabrayasus's L~bb Walla~
:rarik was published around 1900. Since then a remarkable number
of novels have been written among which F~~ir ~ska Ma4abir, Adafris,
Ya~ay Kokab Tirri and Ma'~bal are critically analyzed. Fi*ir fska
Mafabir is, a novel of shining excellence both in form and content.
Ita harmony of setting and characters and artistic manipulation of
literary techniques al~ng with its social significance will always
secure a special place for it. Adafr~s stands out most conspicuously
particularly for its originality of style and unparalleled excellence
in the use of modern literary techniques. It is truly the
work of a master artist and craftsman. Ya~ay Kokab Tirri and
Malibal manifest the highest level of political preoccupation
in the Amharic novel thus marking a new trend of development.
Modern Amharic drama is still.in its infancy. It is no
more than seventy years old. The first Amharic play Fabula by
Bajrond Takla Hawariat was staged at the beginning of this century.
The earliest Amharic plays, which understandably were crude in form,
dealt with the Italian occupation (1928-33). Amharic drama started
to be perfected only after the 1950's and 60's with the return of
dramatists trained abroad. Kabadil Mikael, Girmachaw Takla Hawat-iat,
Mangistu Lamma and ~ngaye Gabramadhin are among the most prominent
playwrights who have contributed to the development of this genre
in Amharic. Amharic drama has evolved through more or less similar
stages as the Amharic novel, and today manifests greater realism
and enhanc,ed political preoccupation.
Poetry is a genre deeply rooted in the Ethiopian oral
tradition. It is the oldest form of literary art in the country.
Throughout the ages Ethiopia has produced prominent poets. Among
the earliest poets Aga~ahu lngida, Yoftahe Nigussie and Walda
Giorgis Welda Yohannis have imprinted their names with the patriotic
poems they composed on the eve of the Italian occupation (1928-
33). Among the moderns Kabada Mikael, Mangistu Lamma, ~ngaye Gabramadhin
are the most popular and highly skilled.
Through the decades, Amharic literature in general has
manifested a significant change and development both in its form
and contento Whereas earlier Amharic literature was largely religioun,
moralistic and didactic, modern Amharic literature has
shown a marked shift in intent and content achieving greater social
significance and realism.
Amharic literature has faced a considerable number of
obstacles among which censorship, the mass illiteracy in the country,
the high cost of printing, the absolute lack of publishing
houses, and most of all, the lack of professional training among
its authors have been the most retarding. However, the eruption
of the popular Ethiopian Revolution of 1966 has opened a brighter
furture for its development, and these problems will eventually be
|Appears in:||Thesis - Literature |
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