Heruy Walda-Sellase

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Heruy Walda-Sellase


Born 1889; died 1939. Ethiopian writer and public figure.

Heruy Walda-Sellase was a major force in the public and cultural life of Ethiopia in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The first writer to cultivate the genres of the novella and the novel in Ethiopian literature, he won fame with his first book, the novella My Heart as My Friend: The Character and Behavior of Man Unveiled in Parables (1923). He was the author of Biographies of Historical Personalities of the Past and Present, the historical novella Emperor Yohannes TV and Metema (1927), and the novel of everyday life The Marriage of Berhane Seyon Mogasa (1930–31), which criticized the widespread Ethiopian custom of early marriage. The novels Advice to a Son, the Memory of a Father (1931) and I and My Friends (1935) were devoted to the problem of bringing up the young generation.

In the philosophically didactic historical novel A New World, Heruy Walda-Sellase criticized the obsolete traditions, corruption, and ignorance of the clergy. He also wrote short stories of an educational nature, panegyrical poems, and accounts of his travels to Japan, Jerusalem, and Europe, as well as the first bibliographical manual on the history of Ethiopian literature, A Catalogue of Books in Geez and Amharic (1911; 2nd ed., 1927–28).


Gerard, A. S. Four African Literatures: Xhosa, Sotho, Zulu, Amharic. Berkeley-Los Angeles-London [1971].


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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