n Journal of Literary Studies - Mongane Serote's : history and the limits of improvisation




South African jazz carries a burden of optimism. It is consistently identified with an ebullient <I>élan vita</I>l that resists the monomania of apartheid ideology. Mongane Serote's novel <I>To Every Birth its Blood&lt;/I&gt; (1981) sounds a cautionary note in its exploration of the limits of modernist improvisation in the face of violent oppression. In exploring its representation of these limitations, this article addresses the critical debate regarding the disjuncture of its two parts that has inflected the novel's reception and reputation. More generally, it suggests ways in which representations of music might be read as either underscoring or as dissonant to the orders of narrative logic and modes of representation of the texts in which they occur.

Suid-Afrikaanse jazz gaan gebuk onder die las van optimisme. Dit word konsekwent identifiseer met 'n oorborrelende <I>élan vital&lt;/I&gt; wat die monomania van die apartheidsideologie teenstaan. Mongane Serote se roman <I>To Every Birth its Blood&lt;/I&gt; (1981) rig 'n waarskuwing in sy ondersoek van die limiete van modernistiese improvisasie ten spyte van gewelddadige onderdrukking. Deur die voorstelling van hierdie beperkings te ondersoek, spreek hierdie artikel die kritiese debat aan rondom die splitsing van die twee dele wat die roman se ontvangs en reputasie inflekteer het. Meer in die algemeen suggereer dit wyses waarop musiek interpreteer kan word as óf onderstreping van, óf dissonant aan die voorskrifte van narratiewe logika en wyses van voorstelling van die tekste waarin dit voorkom.


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