English in Africa - Volume 40, Issue 2, 2013
Volumes & issues
Volume 40, Issue 2, 2013
Source: English in Africa 40, pp 7 –8 (2013)More Less
This year, 2013, South Africans are marking in various ways the centenary of the Natives' Land Act. The year 2014 will be both the 20th anniversary of South Africa's first free and fair elections, and the 180th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. In 2015 we will mark the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter.
Author Craig MacKenzieSource: English in Africa 40, pp 9 –23 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v40i2.1More Less
Just after midnight on Sunday, 18 July 1926, merely hours before he was due to return to the Marico after a mid-year break, Herman Charles Bosman killed his stepbrother David Russell at the family home at 19 Isipingo Street, Bellevue East, Johannesburg. Using a hunting rifle that he had brought back from the bushveld, he shot the 23-year-old Russell in the bedroom shared by the two men. The consequence of this act for the young schoolteacher was what he later called "a somewhat lengthy sojourn in prison" (Bosman 1949, unnumbered dedication page). He escaped the gallows, had his sentence commuted to 10 years with hard labour, and emerged on parole on 14 September 1930, having served just over four years of this sentence (Gray 2005, 131).
Author Hedley TwidleSource: English in Africa 40, pp 25 –45 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v40i2.2More Less
A Passage to India is a book I taught to first-year students at the University of Cape Town for a number of years; but I want to reassure you that this won't be a rehashing of old lecture notes, and that there is no danger of me confusing you with that younger audience. At least one of you may actually have read the whole novel before this lecture. For many undergraduates, I have come to realize, the role of the lecturer is to provide a kind of sales pitch: the literary equivalent of a film trailer, coming to a lecture theatre near you.
Buchan and the Priest King : Nelson's new novels, "The Mountain," and religious revolution in Prester JohnAuthor Justin LivingstoneSource: English in Africa 40, pp 47 –78 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v40i2.3More Less
John Buchan, author of Prester John, The Thirty Nine Steps, and other bestselling novels, was famously dismissive of his own literary efforts. That he considered his fiction to be merely recreation from his more serious pursuits - as historian, publisher and politician - was encapsulated in the famous epithet that he gave to his popular works: they were what he called his "shockers." Certainly, Buchan has often been perceived as a resolutely "middlebrow" writer, and no doubt his own self-deprecating remarks helped both to form and perpetuate this reputation. "Newspaper reviewers approved of him," writes Kate Macdonald, "but literary critics did not rate him highly" (John Buchan 2). Yet the "ambiguous category" of middlebrow writer is, Nathan Waddell argues, by no means unproblematic when it comes to John Buchan. To describe him as such masks the fact that he was "no moderate intellectual" and, more significantly, underplays the serious sociopolitical commentary that his writings undertook (Waddell 3).
Author Myrtle HooperSource: English in Africa 40, pp 79 –99 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v40i2.4More Less
Arnold Bennett, friend and mentor to Pauline Smith, made this complaint about her early writing: "you take for granted throughout a complete knowledge on the part of the reader of the conditions of life in the place and time of which you are writing [...]. Damn it, you don't even give it a point on the earth's surface. Who is to guess that it is in South Africa, even?" (cited by Ravenscroft 1983, 44-45). In his Introduction to The Little Karoo, too, Bennett is moved to offer an explanatory comment on the setting of her fiction.
"Before God This Was Their Country" : history and guilt in Stuart Cloete's Turning Wheels and the Voortrekker MonumentAuthor Rebecca Weaver-HightowerSource: English in Africa 40, pp 101 –121 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v40i2.5More Less
This epigraph from the opening of Stuart Cloete's 1937 novel Turning Wheels, about the Great Trek, the 1830s migration of Afrikaners into the interior of South Africa, illustrates the literary paradox that the novel embodies. Turning Wheels describes the Great Trek in romantic, even loving terms, yet it was banned in South Africa by descendants of the trekkers who themselves frequently romanticized the Trek. While initially merely curious, this paradox ultimately provides insight into the nationalist project of twentieth-century white South Africa, and into the role of literature and representation in that project.
Author Stephen GraySource: English in Africa 40, pp 121 –134 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v40i2.6More Less
The publication of some essential texts withheld from the public until recently makes a reassessment of the life and works of Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) not only practical at last, but essential. These include Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters of 2007, which released his prolific correspondence, mainly with his large family and especially his mother, from his schooldays in the 1860s through to her death in her eighties. This was followed in 2008 by Russell Miller's The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle, drawing upon this particular resource for the first time.
Also in 2007 came Andrew Lycett's Conan Doyle: The Man Who Created Sherlock Holmes, which is the first biography able to call on the entire range of Doyle resources opened to researchers. Whereas several previous biographers - for example, Pearson in 1943 and Symons in 1979 - had restricted access to Doyle's censored remains, tending as a result to fall for repeating his own line on himself (as in his Memories and Adventures of 1924), Lycett has opened the whole case afresh, calling in all the evidence.
Author Matthew ShumSource: English in Africa 40, pp 135 –145 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v40i2.7More Less
Source: English in Africa 40, pp 147 –152 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v40i2.8More Less
In Autumn 1830 Thomas Pringle returned to Scotland for the first time since sailing for South Africa in 1820. He travelled for the sake of his health and possibly on business for the Anti-Slavery Society, but the journey was also a pilgrimage of familial piety: he made contact with kinsmen and kinswomen, visited the scenes of his childhood and his great-grandfather's grave, for which he planned to erect a new stone inscribed with his own verses "as a memorial to our family." In February 1832 Pringle wrote to John, an otherwise unidentified correspondent, offering to write him a letter a week, giving John an account of his life, the series to constitute "a little sketch of my biography to prefix my 'Poetical Remains.'" (Characteristically Pringle tempered the potential of self-importance, ironically addressing himself by his Scots name as "Ah, Tamas! Tamas! - vanity and egotism.") The visit to Scotland and the planned serial biography came as the poet's humanitarian work was reaching its climax and, perhaps, with a growing sense of his own mortality. Yet as early as 1825 in South Africa, Pringle had hoped "to write something that may not dishonour Scotland." This allegiance to Scotland, in tandem with his devotion to South Africa, identifies Pringle as a Scot of the diaspora, and a Scot of the Union, although Randolph Vigne's fine biography is sub-titled: South African Pioneer, Poet & Abolitionist. Since Pringle's life ended in London, he died and was buried away from home.
Author Elwyn JenkinsSource: English in Africa 40, pp 153 –154 (2013)More Less
In his article, "Readers and Writers in Colonial Natal (1843-1910)," Grant Christison (129) writes, "[i]t was around the turn of the twentieth century that one or two adventurous local publishers began to risk capital on speculative book publishing ventures (e.g. Fincher and Paul in Works Cited)." His entry for Fincher reads, "Fincher, Nellie ('Mrs. William Wells'). Good Measure. A Novel of S. African Interest. Pietermaritzburg: Times Co., 1910."