n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - Isis as teksherkonstrueerder van liggaamsverbrokkeling : Breyten Breytenbach en Tom Gouws as eksemplaardigters

Volume 40, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-9570



Fragmentation of the physical body of Osiris, the Egyptian god, acquires iconic stature in the reviewed texts of Breyten Breytenbach and Tom Gouws. In Breytenbach's "Isis", from the volume Yk (1983), the brokenness and fragmentation of the body of Osiris is textually expressed. The numerous syntactic hiatuses, parentheses and ellipses force the reader to become co-creator of the text. In this way the reader rebuilds the broken textual body like Isis, with her healing hands, recreates the fragmented body of her brother/husband. Through the creative process, the poets force the reader to assume an active likeness of Isis. <br>Tom Gouws wrote nearly a decade after Yk a cycle of 14 sonnets in his volume <i>Diaspora</i> (1990), which contains an intertextual relatedness with Breytenbach's poems. By means of the diaspora of the broken body of Osiris, the poet attempts to reconstruct the brokenness through textual form and content. Through this process the texts become textual icons of Osiris's fragmented body. <br>The discourse between the work of the two poets constitutes further proof of the reader's role as healer of the text by tracing intertextual tracks and healing the fragmentation and dispersion of the physical textual body. In this paper I will argue that both Breytenbach and Gouws, by means of poetry, express the fragmentation of the body of Osiris iconically. In addition I will demonstrate that the reader is called upon to play the part of metaphoric figure of Isis to fill syntactic hiatuses.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error