n English in Africa - Skin Tight : Apartheid Literary Culture and its Aftermath, Louise Bethlehem : review

Volume 36, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



Louise Bethlehem, South African-born but now tenured at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has to be one of the sharpest intelligences working in Southern African literary studies today. This slender book is characteristically scintillating, dense with metatextual theory, and shot through with anger. It is a text upon metatexts: a series of coruscating snapshots of four or so key moments of literary critical discourse that emerged from the South African 'lit-crit' establishment during the apartheid years, and one following it (the TRC). It pretends neither to be a survey of the discipline, nor - somewhat disdainfully - to be supported by an empirical layering of evidence. Rather, it explores how the discursive structures and rhetoric of chosen literary critical texts have failed to enact the liberation to which they lay claim.

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