n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - "Klaaglied vir 'n verdwene geliefde" - oor vertroostende, melancholiese en "onmoontlike" verdriet

Volume 40, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-9570



<i>Klaaglied vir Koos&lt;/i&gt; (Lament for Koos) (1984), Lettie Viljoen's first novel, was published during a time of increased militarisation and political oppression by the South African government. The narrator of this elegiac text is a white woman whose husband unexpectedly leaves her to join the armed struggle against apartheid. In the essay following, specific emphasis is placed on the ways in which the narrator attempts to come to terms with her feelings of loss and grief by means of her elegiac narrative. It is indicated that the narrator's "elegy" displays characteristics of both the traditional and the modern elegy, as well as the Freudian theories of mourning governing Sacks' account of "consolatory" and Ramazani's account of "melancholic" grief. As an elegy, <i>Klaaglied vir Koos&lt;/i&gt; also illustrates Derrida's view of the "paradox of mourning": the (im)possibility of an interiorisation of what can never be interiorised due to the infinite alterity of the other. Ironically it is this very (im)possibility that eventually focuses the narrator's attention on the importance of letting her husband go and paying respect to him as lost other.

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