“Jogona's Great Treasure”: Narrative, Lyric, and Dramatic Intelligibility

Frederick J. Ruf

in Entangled Voices

Published in print March 1997 | ISBN: 9780195102635
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853458 | DOI:
“Jogona's Great Treasure”: Narrative, Lyric, and Dramatic Intelligibility

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In Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen tells a story that is instructive for the evaluation of the basic genres. After a shooting accident in which a boy is killed, Dinesen takes a testimony from the child's adoptive father, a man named Jogona. When he has told his story, Dinesen reads the account back to him; that is, she presents to him a narrative of certain events in his life. In her book, Dinesen emphasizes Jogona's reaction to the narrative, using largely religious imagery. The written narrative becomes Jogona's “great treasure.” This chapter examines the manner in which narrative, lyric, and drama shape their readers' notions of themselves, but also of others and their surroundings because of these genres' distinctive forms. Those forms include a characteristic voice, a characteristic object, and a characteristic relation to that object. This chapter looks more narrowly at intelligibility; that is, at the characteristic intelligibility that each form tends to inculcate. This constitutes a first attempt at a religious pragmatics of the basic genres.

Keywords: Out of Africa; Isak Dinesen; narrative; genres; intelligibility; lyric; drama; voice; object; religious imagery

Chapter.  4084 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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