anthropologist and writer
A critic and scholar from Guinea, Sory Camara is known for his studies of Malinké oral tradition and performances (see oral literature and performance). His most prominent works in this regard include Gens de la parole essais sur la condition et le rôle des griots dans la société Malinké (The Keepers of Speech: Status and Function of the Griots in Malinke Society) (1976); his doctorate Paroles de nuit (Words of Night) (1978); and Grain de vision: Afrique noire, drame et liturgie (Speck of Vision: Black Africa, Drama and Liturgy) (1994).
b. 1901, Natal, South Africa; d. 1957, Portugal
poet and translator
The South African poet and translator Roy Campbell is perhaps the most controversial writer to have come from the region, often associated with extreme political views during his lifetime and out of place as much in the cultural establishment associated with English-speaking white South Africans as he was in the London of his exile, the Bloomsbury group, and its literary circles. Campbell left South Africa at the age of 17 and lived as a bohemian in London in the 1920s. He published his first major work, a long poem called The Flaming Terrapin, in 1924 at the age of 23. Returning to South Africa in 1924 Campbell tried to establish relationships with some of the major white writers in the region, most notably Alan Paton and William Plomer , but he soon fell out with many of his associates and returned to London. He was ostracized from English literary circles after the publication of The Georgiad (1931), a savage satire (in verse) on English literary culture. Campbell eventually moved to Spain and converted to Catholicism, becoming a strong supporter of General Francisco Franco and the Fascist forces during the Spanish civil war. Because of his extreme views on controversial social and racial issues, Campbell's politics has tended to overshadow some of his major literary contributions, including the powerful lyrical poems collected in Adamastor (1930), considered to be his best work. Campbell was strongly influenced by English poets, especially the Romantics, and his long poems reflect the influence of Dryden and Pope, but what made his best works memorable was his ability to use established forms of verse to represent the African landscapes of his youth and imagination. In spite of what have been considered by some to be his racist views, the main poems in Adamastor reflect Campbell's moving sense of the African landscape and his ability to fashion a language that would capture the rhythms of nature.