Dahomean Narrative

Paper Text – $32.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-1650-4
Publication Date
April 1998
Page Count
490 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Dahomean Narrative

A Cross-Cultural Analysis
Melville J. Herskovits and Frances S. Herskovits

This new edition brings back into print one of the classics in scholarly analysis and translation, written by one of the luminaries of American cultural anthropology. Melville Herskovits and his wife and collaborator Frances spent over twenty years studying the social networks, religion, music, and oral traditions of the peoples of West Africa and their descendants in the New World. Dahomey, the site of their major African work, is in the country now known as Benin.

Published as a companion piece to Northwestern University Press's West African Folktales, Dahomean Narrative provides the basic texts of material collected in the field, and shows how they were collected, analyzed, and theorized in the anthropological and folklore disciplinary traditions of Herskovits's day. The result is a wide-ranging collection, culled from an entire narrative tradition, that remains unique among anthropological publications.

About the Author

Melville Jean Herskovits (1895-1963) taught at Northwestern University from 1927 until his death. In 1951 he was named to the first academic chair of African studies in the United States. His major works include The Myth of the Negro Past (1941), Man and His Works (1948), The Human Factor in Changing Africa (1962), and with his wife and collaborator, Frances Shapiro Herskovits (1897-1972), Rebel Destiny (1934) and Trinidad Village (1947).
Jane I. Guyer is director of the Program of African Studies, and David L. Easterbrook is curator of the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, both at Northwestern University.