n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Troubled reading : 'Sonny's blues' and empathy : original research

Volume 36, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2279



This article uses a discussion of Baldwin's short story 'Sonny's blues' as a means of exploring reading and approaches to drug literature. It considers the possibility of understanding Baldwin's fictional text as a statement on reading social as well as subjective 'problems' as universal across contexts. Using conclusions gleaned from a detailed reading of the primary text, as well as the contributions of others to the field, it argues for the importance of reading, as audience and as scholars, with the capacity to allow for the transformation of problematic subjective experience such as drug addiction into artistic expression with value beyond its initial context.

Hierdie artikel verken die lees en benadering van dwelmliteratuur vanuit 'n ontleding van James Baldwin se kortverhaal 'Sonny's Blues'. Dit probeer Baldwin se fiktiewe teks te verstaan as 'n stelling dat die lees van sosiale as persoonlike probleme universeel is, ongeag die konteks. Deur bevindings uit 'n noukeurige lesing van die teks met ander bydraes in die veld te kombineer, betoog ek dat ons as lesers en ondersoekers sulke tekste moet lees met die vermoë om te aanvaar dat problematiese persoonlike ervaring, soos dwelmverslawing, omgesit kan word in artistieke uitdrukkings wat ook buite hulle aanvanklike konteks waardevol bly.

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