n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - He wrote a letter home to myself : tracing the epistolary in Damon Galgut's : original research

Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2279



This article considers Damon Galgut's as a work of contemporary epistolary fiction. Recent studies of epistolarity argue that the epistolary tradition remains identifiable and apparent even once woven into other genres. Though not strictly an epistolary novel, addresses the same thematic concerns that exist in all epistolary writing - exile, loneliness, unrequited love, self-identity and trial. This article asks the same three questions that all epistolary fiction invites: To whom, for whom and why does Damon write? The epistolary mode is considered with reference to Jacques Lacan's gaze theory. The gaze sets up an inherent secret, revealing the truth only in the final dénouement. In epistolary work, it anticipates the voyeuristic reader, compelling him or her to watch. The gaze can be found in only one of Galgut's three novellas. It is for this reason that makes for difficult reading. It is also why the novel is so confounding and compelling, presenting as it does the internal dialogue of a lonely man.

In hierdie artikel word Damon Galgut se as 'n werk van kontemporêre epistolêre fiksie beskou. Onlangse studies van epistolariteit voer aan dat die epistolêre tradisie identifiseerbaar en opvallend bly, selfs al word dit ook met ander genres verweef. Hoewel streng gesproke nie 'n briefroman is nie, fokus dit op dieselfde tematiese kwessies wat in alle epistolêre geskrifte voorkom - ballingskap, eensaamheid, onbeantwoorde liefde, eie identiteit en beproewing. Hierdie artikel vra dieselfde drie vrae wat alle epistolêre fiksie uitlok: aan wie, vir wie en waarom skryf Damon? Die epistolêre skryfwyse word ondersoek met verwysing na Jacques Lacan se teorie van die blik. Die blik stel 'n inherente geheim op waarvan die waarheid eers in die finale ontknoping geopenbaar word. In 'n epistolêre werk word voyeuristiese lesers veronderstel en word hulle gedwing om toe te kyk. Die blik kan in slegs een van Galgut se drie novelles aangetref word. Dit is die rede waarom moeilik lees. Dit is ook die rede waarom die aanbied van die interne dialoog van 'n eensame man in die roman so verwarrend en dwingend is.

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