Voices from the Volcano: Myths, Folktales and Poetry from Gaua, Vanuatu

Author: Alexandre François
Forthcoming in 2017.

The archipelago of Vanuatu in Melanesia is home to over one hundred languages and to a highly diverse set of cultures. While linguists currently study the various languages of Vanuatu, and anthropologists study their societies, few scholars have combined the two disciplines, and documented the abundant mythology and oral literature of the archipelago.

This is the first bilingual collection ever published on the cultures of northern Vanuatu. Focusing on the island of Gaua, it includes twenty stories, from myths and children's tales to personal histories and sung poetry. Each story is situated in its cultural and literary context, and presented in both its original vernacular and in English. The six languages spoken on the island are represented, and documented here for the first time: Nume, Dorig, Koro, Olrat, Lakon and Mwerlap.

Voices from the Volcano provides a lasting testimony to the rich oral literature of a vibrant island culture. Its stories will be of interest to linguists, anthropologists, historians, folklorists and experts in comparative literature, as well as to general readers.

This book is part of our Oral Literature Series in conjunction with the World Oral Literature Project.


Voices from the Volcano: Myths, Folktales and Poetry from Gaua, Vanuatu
Alexandre François | Forthcoming 2016
ISBN Paperback: 9781906924829
ISBN Hardback: 9781906924836
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781906924843
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781906924850
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781906924867
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0080
Alexandre François is a linguist from LaCiTO (Langues et Civilisations à Tradition Orale) in the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, and currently a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University. He has conducted extensive fieldwork on a number of hitherto undescribed – and often endangered – Oceanic languages from northern Vanuatu and eastern Solomon Islands. He has written reference grammars of Araki and Mwotlap, two languages of Vanuatu, and is currently writing one of Hiw. While he mainly works on the description and analysis of these languages, his projects also aim to document the oral literature, poetry and music of these communities, and to support the maintenance of endangered languages. Together with ethnomusicologist Monika Stern, he is publishing a selection of his musical recordings from northern Vanuatu in the forthcoming CD Vanuatu: Celebrations and Mysteries.