“Legends are…mere nests into which invention lays credulity.” Judith Gleason. New African Literature at Jumel Terrace Books
This month we’re featuring new stock from the library of the late Judith Gleason, PhD., the first Anglo-American Olorisha initiated into Santeria. An anthropologist who became attracted to the religion while researching Candomble in Brazil, Pierre Verger is thought to be the inspiration for her novel, Agõtĩme (NY: Grossman, a NYTimes Book of the Year in 1970), an African folk legend combined with a tale of the occult and a learned treatise of African folk lore, complete with glossary. Her 1962 initiation by Ascension “Sunta” Serrano Osaunko, Olobatala, is the basis of Gleason’s autobiographical novel Santaria, Bronx (NY: Atheneum, 1975). Her other titles are A Recitation of Ifa, Oracle of the Yoruba Orisha: The Gods of Yorubaland (New York, Grossman Publishers, 1973), Leaf and Bone: African Praise Poems (NY: Penguin, 1994) and Oya: In Praise of an African Goddess (Boston: Shambala, 1987).
Judith’s interest in the religion came about through her interest in African Literature. There are some stellar examples here.