n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Die waarneming van die werklikheid in Bernlef se vroeëre poësie : research article




The observation of reality played a major role in J. Bernlef's writings. He particularly emphasized the neutral and objective observation of ordinary things, but such observation had to be done in a way that the artefact would reveal the uncommon or unfamiliar in what had been observed. Critics are of the opinion that Bernlef's poetics changed after 1970, mainly because his poetry became more concise and intricate. In fact, his poetic style is related to a reduction process in which the language used became more ambiguous and problematic.
It is my intention to explore Bernlef's early poetics and to show that the socalled renewal in his poetry during the seventies had in fact already taken place during the sixties.


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