Contribution of D.A. Olderogge to the Study of the Epic Tradition of West Africa


Irina Tatarovskaya


On May 6, 1903, the Soviet Africanist, ethnographer, literary critic, linguist, and historian Dmitry A. Olderogge was born in Vilna. He was one of the founders of African studies in the USSR and an organizer of museum work related to Africa. The article is dedicated to the memory of this outstanding scientist, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor, Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences. It shows the main milestones of the professional path of Dmitry A. Olderogge, describes the scientist’s contribution to the study of the folklore of African peoples and gives an analysis of his main works in the field of folklore. The important theoretical and practical significance of his research devoted to the epic legends of the peoples of West Africa is revealed in the work.


Dmitry A. Olderogge, folklore, epic, West Africa, griots, “Sundyata”, blacksmith




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2. Dmitry Alekseevich recalls. Documents, letters, memoirs (In Russian). Part 2. Ethnologica Africana. In memory of Dmitry Alekseevich Olderogge. Moscow, Muravey. 2002. 379 с. ISBN 5-89737-129-6.
3. Koval A.I. Epos and literature of the Fulbe (In Russian). Moscow, Nauka. 1990. 238 p. ISBN 5-02-011024-8.
4. Kotlyar E.S. Interpretation of the epic legend about Sundyata by the Mandeng narrators (West Africa) (In Russian). Poetics of medieval literatures of the East. Tradition and creativity. Moscow, Nasledie. 1994. p. 246–268. ISBN 5-02-017293-6.
5. Kotlyar E.S. The epic of the peoples of Africa south of the Sahara (In Russian). Moscow, Nauka. 1985. 288 p.
6. Mandingo Tales. Hausa Tales. Tales of the peoples of Africa (In Russian). Moscow, Leningrad, Khudozhestvennaya literatura. 1959. 320 p.
7. Niane Dj.T. Soundiata ou l’épopée mandingue. P., Dakar, Présence africaine. 1960. 160 p. ISBN 2-7087-0078-2.