n English in Africa - The novels of Rhona Stern

Volume 30, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



According to Michael Green, one of the offshoots of the "project [of] cultural reinvention" prompted by the end of apartheid and the "reconstruction ... of what 'South Africa' will mean" is the opportunity to reconsider the ways in which we think, in general terms, about South African literature; flowing from this, what Green urges in particular is the "the imagining anew of 'South African literary history'" (Green 1997, 5). The notion that a literary history is to be 'imagined' is appealing, for it suggests that the construing of such a history (or histories) may be a creative, dynamic process. In the formation of canons and literary histories there will always be inclusions and exclusions; of necessity there will be choices made which others will dispute. But if the revisionist impulse to which Green alludes makes South African literature seem a more capacious terrain, that in itself is a first step towards a creative refashioning. For in South Africa we know only too well that "literary histories can suppress and obscure in addition to preserving and celebrating" (Ezell 1993, 148).

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