n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - "Naming of parts", or, how things shape up in transcultural literary history : research article

Volume 26, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2279
  • E-ISSN: 2219-8237



In hierdie artikel word aangevoer dat transkulturele literatuurgeskiedskrywing, wat op sigself 'n komplekse taak is, nog meer ingewikkeld begin raak as 'n mens aanvaar dat kognisie, of die funksie en prosesse van verstandelike waarneming, 'n bepalende rol speel in die proses - of hierdie proses nou in empiriese of poststrukturele terme gesien word. Verder word beredeneer dat kognisie op analogiese prosesse gegrond is - tot so 'n mate dat literatuurgeskiedskrywing beskou kan word as 'n proses waarin 'n reeks "vensters" ("windows") hulleself voortdurend hersien en verander. Binne hierdie proses word die waarnemingsveld op 'n kognitiewe wyse herhaaldelik herskep. So 'n beskouing bied 'n raamwerk waarbinne "literatuurgeskiedskrywing", veral interkulturele literatuurgeskiedskrywing, as metakognitief beskou kan word. In plaas van 'n soeke na die "juiste" struktuur, word literêre geskiedskrywing 'n soeke na 'n verbeelde struktuur - 'n struktuur wat in die eerste instansie in ooreenstemming is met 'n mens se perseptuele modus eers in die tweede instansie in ooreenstemming is met die beskikbare gegewens. Hierdie uitgangspunte word beredeneer met betrekking tot Suid-Afrikaanse literatuurgeskiedskrywing in Engels.

This article suggests that transcultural literary history, in itself an exercise of great complexity, is rendered even more challenging if one accepts that cognition is a critical prior step in the process, regardless of whether literary history is conceived in empirical or in poststructuralist terms. Further, it is argued that cognition depends on analogical processes - to such an extent that literary "history" can be understood as a self-revising cascade of "windows" which recreate the field cognitively over and over again. In this understanding, "literary history", and transcultural literary history in particular, become metacognitive. Rather than a search for "true" structure, literary history is a search for imagined structure which is true to one's mode of perception in the first instance, and to the data at hand in the second. These propositions are argued in relation to South African literary historiography in English.

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