n English in Africa - Achieved professionalism : and : review article




On May 31 1910, Professor John Purves of the Transvaal University College in Pretoria would use the coming into being of the Union of South Africa as an occasion to address South African literature, treating his subject with a mixture of regard and regret. "The literature of South Africa," he observed, "has not yet attained, like that of Canada and Australia to the dignity of a formal history. The number of books published yearly in the four Provinces of the Union form a paltry and inconsiderable total compared with the records of the other Dominions, and South Africa cannot yet be said to have developed a literary consciousness. Yet the books that have come out of South Africa and the books South Africa has inspired are neither few nor wholly insignificant, while the literary associations of the great sub-continent are probably richer than those of any other of the great Colonial territories" ("South African Literature," , Commemorative Number, 31 May 1910, qtd. in , 6).


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