South African textual cultures

White, black, read all over
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Dimensions and Pages: 234 x 156 mm, 256 pp
  • EAN: 9781868145515
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 

This is a pathbreaking book. [….] This interdisciplinary research establishes van der Vlies as a first rate literary critic, historian and cultural sociologist. Laura Chrisman, SHARP News (August 2009)

It is not enough, nor entirely accurate, to say that this is an important contribution to South African literary studies: ‘South African Textual Cultures’ is, rather, the first major study to question the very category of ‘South African literature’ and to describe the process of its construction in a sustained, engaging, theoretically astute manner.
Rita Barnard, University of Pennsylvania

‘Nation’ and ‘literature’ are always inherently unstable categories but, in the case of South Africa, this instability is particularly marked. This study considers the effects local and global networks had on the publication, promotion and reception of a series of key writers and their works between 1883 and 2005, asking: who published what, where, why, and how; how and why work was construed as ‘South African’, what this meant, and
how it affected reading. Exploring new approaches to studying colonial and postcolonial print cultures, it seeks to redress inadequately historicised or transnationally situated studies of South African writing in English.

In addition to making considerable contributions to the study of well-known writers like Olive Schreiner, Alan Paton, and Nobel Laureate J.M. Coetzee (chapters on the early publication history of Schreiner’s The Story of an African Farm, Paton’s globally influential Cry, the Beloved Country, and Coetzee’s In the Heart of the Country, his second novel but the first to be published abroad), it also includes discussions of the contrasting reputations of poets Roy Campbell and William Plomer in the 1920s and 1930s, of exiled ANC-activist Alex La Guma’s publishing odyssey (in Nigeria, East Germany and Britain); and Zakes Mda’s novel about hybrid identities and identifications in colonial and in post-‘apartheid’ South Africa, The Heart of Redness (2000).

Andrew van der Vlies is lecturer in postcolonial literature in the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary, University of London.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. South African textual cultures
Chapter 2. Farming stories (I): Olive Schreiner’s fates
Chapter 3. ‘Hurled by what aim to what tremendous range’: Roy Campbell, William Plomer, and the politics of reputation
Chapter 4. Whose Beloved Country? Alan Paton and the hypercanonical
Chapter 5. Alex La Guma’s marginal aesthetics and the institutions of protest
Chapter 6. Farming Stories (II): J. M. Coetzee and the (heart of a) country
Chapter 7. Zakes Mda’s novel educations
Chapter 8. Afterword: white(s) and black(s), read all over

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