1887

n Journal of Literary Studies - The Republic of Letters after the Mandela Republic

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Abstract

Closely linked to the emergence of modernity, the nation has functioned for literature (and for the novel in particular) as a virtual space, a discursive formation and a mental structure in relation to individual histories and narratives. Thus the nation has served as a reservoir that writers can draw on to fashion stories of the nation. The essay examines the failure of South Africa to function as a unitary nation through specific moments in its literary development, arguing that literature in South Africa has been held hostage by apartheid - both in the historical context of settler oppression and more recently in the "Rainbow Nation" (the period following the election of Nelson Mandela as president in 1994). It remains a presence, a shadow of unpunished wickedness and inequality ignored. The essay ends by drawing analogies to other modern "literatures of the abyss" in which the nation, inasmuch as it does emerge, is narrated with a whimper.

Die nasie het - nou verbonde aan die verskyning van moderniteit - vir die letterkunde (en in besonder die roman) as 'n virtuele spasie, 'n diskursiewe formasie en 'n geestelike struktuur in verhouding tot individuele geskiedenisse en narratiewe gefunksioneer. Dus het die nasie gedien as opgaarplek waaruit skrywers kon put om stories van die nasie voort te bring. Hierdie artikel ondersoek Suid-Afrika se mislukking om te funksioneer as 'n nasie deur spesifieke momente in sy literêre ontwikkeling, deur aan te voer dat literatuur in Suid-Afrika gyselaar gehou is deur apartheid - in die historiese konteks van setlaaronderdrukking sowel as in die meer onlangse "Reënboognasie" (die periode na die verkiesing van Nelson Mandela as president in 1994). Dit bly steeds 'n werklikheid, 'n skaduwee van ongestrafte boosheid en ongelykheid wat ignoreer is. Die artikel sluit af deur analogieë te trek tussen ander moderne literature van die afgrond ["literatures of the abyss"] waarin die nasie in sover dit wel te voorskyn kom, met 'n huilstem verhaal word.

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/content/litstud/18/3_4/EJC62341
2002-12-01
2016-12-03
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