The Benin Stories

The main project of the Verbal Art foundation during the past years was the publication of the corpus of Vodun stories that was recorded in 1976 in Benin by Marjolijn Aalders Grool. See

Voodoo ceremony Godomey, Benin 1975

She recorded  37 mythological stories on audiotape in the rural areas of southern Benin, formerly  the Kingdome of Danxomè. The duration of the stories is over three hours. The corpus counts about 57,000 words.
The analysis of the performance is published in the autumn of 2013. The analysis comprises both the linguistic as the ethnological aspects of the stories. The lengths of the pauses play a crucial role in structuring the narrative discourse. The topic of the story is determined by the choice of FA (divination), the central participant of the story and the two agents that figure in the story. Following a basic framework of action and reaction, the performers use the storyboard technique to build up their story.

“Verbal Art of the Fon (Benin)” is published by Rüdiger Köppe Verlag (Cologne).

The full text of the 37 stories in Fongbe, together with an English translation are published July 2014. The stories are published with a brief explanation of the main features of the stories and their background. “Vodun Stories of the Fon (Benin)” is published by Rüdiger Köppe Verlag (Cologne).

In 2017 she published a third book in which she not only describes her fieldwork but also the social and political events of that time. Based on letters to her mother, diaries, her fieldwork account and key publications of dailies and magazines , she paints a vivid picture of the creation of the People Republic of Benin at the end of the seventies. She gives insight in the political machinations and the ruthless oppression of the voodoo religion and how she coped with the social isolation that the regime created. “A Journey to Gods and Comrades” is also published by Rüdiger Köppe Verlag (Cologne).

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