English in Africa - Volume 43, Issue 1, 2016
Volumes & issues
Volume 43, Issue 1, 2016
Author Malvern Van Wyk SmithSource: English in Africa 43, pp 9 –30 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v43i1.1More Less
The story of the European encounter with Africa includes many liminal characters who mostly play little part in the larger sweep of events but everywhere suggest alternative scenarios that might have developed, or at least discordant readings of what did actually happen. They range from the Khoi interpreter Coree, who was taken to England in 1614, to a group of London women sent to Sierra Leone in the 1790s to marry local slave traders, or from various Cape avatars of Shakespeare's Caliban to several picturesque originals for Defoe's African eccentrics; from early African articulants of African independence and dignity, such as the Prince Naimbanna of Sierra Leone, to many intriguing individuals (both African and European) who emerge from the records of Portuguese shipwrecks along the southern African coast and the sixteenth-century Portuguese penetration of south-east Africa. Nor is the story short on the occasional African Queen and Sable Venus who not only enliven events but at times impact significantly on the developing politics of colonialism.
Author Alannah BirchSource: English in Africa 43, pp 31 –56 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v43i1.2More Less
With reference to Roy Campbell's notion of an "equestrian nation", this essay argues that the figure of the cowboy in Campbell's poetry should be read in light of a London cultural scene in the early post-First World War period in which two Modernist performative traditions drew together. The first of these is the energetic celebration of declining "Western" frontiers in popular culture through Western film, Western fiction, and rodeo performances, while the second tradition is that of Anglo-European dandyism. Thus, while Campbell's vision of an equestrian "brotherhood" appears to have colonial roots, I argue that it functions as a generalised ideal, abstracted from a real history of colonialism. Campbell's poetic cowboys are hybrid, labile figures who display spectacular, and apparently redemptive, masculine energy. These figures, I suggest, are emblematic of a Modernist preoccupation, shared with the "dandy-writers" of the nineteenth century, with the place of individual distinction in the face of the levelling effects of bourgeois and democratic social life. I argue that Campbell's hypermasculinist performances, both personal and poetic, should thus be read as dramatising a typically Modernist symbiosis between the figures of the apparently unrefined frontiersman, and the metropolitan sophisticate.
"The reality of the singular" : anima and unus mundus in Laurens van der Post's A Story Like the Wind and A Far-Off PlaceAuthor Matthew A. FikeSource: English in Africa 43, pp 57 –86 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v43i1.3More Less
Laurens van der Post's A Story Like the Wind and A Far-Off Place include a variety of Jungian themes and motifs but dramatize most thoroughly the ways in which the anima mediates between reason and other faculties necessary for wholeness. In the writings of C. G. Jung, the anima is not only the contrasexual in men but also a unifier akin to the unus mundus or unitary world. In the two novels the anima bridges binaries such as reason and intuition and provides an antidote to the twentieth-century malaise arising from loss of the archaic. Although van der Post's work on Jung does not mention the unus mundus, Wind and Place depict not only various connections among matter, psyche, and spirit, but also portray the main characters, François and Nonnie, as a necessary hybrid of European and native African qualities.
Author Jochen PetzoldSource: English in Africa 43, pp 87 –100 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v43i1.4More Less
The essay examines three novels by André Brink, A Chain of Voices (1982), Devil's Valley (1998) and Philida (2012), arguing that Brink uses the heteroglossia of various voices and their stories about the past to question and destabilize notions of historical truth. More specifically, the essay suggests that Brink presents an alternative past in A Chain of Voices, deconstructs the very notion of truth in Devil's Valley, but offers a more traditional historical novel in Philida.
"Hades this place, and I a fugitive shade" : Classical cultures and languages in J. M. Coetzee's Age of IronAuthor Gillian DooleySource: English in Africa 43, pp 101 –108 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v43i1.5More Less
Mrs Curren, in Coetzee's Age of Iron, is a retired Classics lecturer. Greek and Roman mythology, and Latin and Ancient Greek, are part of her consciousness. Her humanistic, Enlightenment sensibility is shaped by a liberal education which could be regarded as irrelevant in the South Africa of the novel, and which could therefore function as a symbol of the marginalisation of western liberal culture in Africa. Christian and biblical discourses are also important in the novel. Latin, in the form of phrases taken from the Vulgate and the Catholic liturgy as well as from classical texts, is woven through the texture of Mrs Curren's consciousness: her mode of thought and expression tends to the etymological and the allusive. In this paper I will consider the part these two discourses, classical and biblical, seemingly incompatible in some ways and overlapping in others, play in shaping the character of Mrs Curren. I will consider how the Latin language in her internal monologue and speech mediates her interactions with other characters and her reactions to particular events in the novel.
Author Carol LeffSource: English in Africa 43, pp 109 –129 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v43i1.6More Less
Herman Charles Bosman is best known for his humorous short stories with signature twist endings. He is less well known for his essays and journalistic writing, which illustrate another side of this enigmatic man. This essay focuses on the paradox that Bosman was (and continues to be) and aims to respond to the following questions: How are we to understand the identity of Herman Charles Bosman? How did he contribute towards an understanding of language and culture in South Africa during his lifetime? Was Bosman consistent in expressing his views through his literary works, or is there evidence of incongruity? These complexities are explored by, first, paying close attention to various biographies on Bosman. His hybrid identity is then illustrated by providing examples of the many pseudonyms he employed over a period of time. This is followed by discussion of several of Bosman's non-fiction pieces, highlighting how contradictions are apparent in his beliefs and philosophy. The essay concludes that Bosman vacillated in both his writing and his beliefs, and was indeed a man of contradictions.
Author P.R. AndersonSource: English in Africa 43, pp 131 –147 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v43i1.7More Less
Don Maclennan, who died in 2009, has been extraordinarily well-served in the labours of those who loved and admired him and have now brought these two books before the public they deserve. The Collected Poems gathers together the 21 published volumes, with a few additions and subtractions of little consequence to the project of the book, which aims at a summary statement rather than an archival compendium. Besides, Maclennan was a poet of immediacies, so he would prefer a poem to be abroad in the world than festering in a drawer; this means that he brought his poems to readiness and completion, and before a public, without haste but with the promptitude of a good correspondent or bookkeeper. Certainly this is the evidence of the rate and tidiness of his later books. His reckonings (Reckonings is the title of a 1983 volume) are swift and exact, and both inwardly and outwardly leave little in the way of an untidy horde of till-slips, for either reader or editor. So, at any rate, is the impression that Wylie gives of his editorial burden, and, for now at any rate, this is more than sufficient.
Author Eckard SmutsSource: English in Africa 43, pp 149 –153 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v43i1.8More Less
J. M. Coetzee, arguably one of the finest prose writers working in English, has not always had encouraging things to say about the business of screenwriting. Thus, in an essay on the life of William Faulkner, Coetzee remarks on the financial burdens - chief among them the burden of having to support an extended family circle, swollen by any number of hangers-on - that led Faulkner to squander his literary talents, first by writing short stories for popular magazines, and then, between 1932 and 1945, by writing screenplays for Hollywood. Some of the short stories could still be salvaged and reworked into novels, but that the years Faulkner spent writing film scripts were artistically a waste of time there is, for Coetzee, no doubt. We learn that Faulkner had "no gift for putting together snappy dialogue" and that nothing he wrote for the movies "proved worth rescuing" ("William Faulkner" 195). By far the most alarming aspect of Faulkner's Hollywood career, however, is the possibility that writing films could have had "a bad effect on his prose" (195).