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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 ii 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 overcome.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/3970
Appears in:Thesis - Literature

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