Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
NollywoodThe Creation of Nigerian Film Genres$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Jonathan Haynes

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226387819

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226388007.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 29 May 2020

The Cultural Epic: Representing the Past

The Cultural Epic: Representing the Past

(p.141) Chapter 6 The Cultural Epic: Representing the Past

Jonathan Haynes

University of Chicago Press

The cultural epic genre is set in the “traditional,” precolonial past. The genre was cofounded by The Battle of Musanga, which conceives of Igbo history in the manner of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, and Igodo, which is legendary and archetypal. The genre is ambivalent in its interpretation of the past, presenting it alternately as a source of cultural richness and righteous order, or as a nightmare of tyranny and dark spiritual forces requiring intervention by Christian missionaries. Epics normally center on an igwe (an Igbo king), though historically Igbo societies were seldom monarchies. The king is also an ambivalent figure, either a virtuous priest/king ensuring harmony or a tyrant. The genre was launched at the end of military rule and was originally preoccupied with political and spiritual issues, but romance became increasingly important. The genre of “royal films” with contemporary settings springs from epics about romances in royal families.

Keywords:   Cultural epic, African history, historical representation, Igbo kingship, ideology, Achebe, royal, Nollywood actors, precolonial Africa, tradition

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.