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n Journal of Literary Studies - Traumas and transformations : fictions which play with what "They Say", by Zakes Mda and Lindsey Collen

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Abstract

There has been an ongoing debate on attempts to translate traumatic experiences, both personal and public, into a variety of cultural forms. In fictional accounts, particularly, this has involved a focus on redefined selfhoods, which can be linked to the fluidity of identities during times of acute social transition. Through a comparative study of the strategies used in Zakes Mda's <I>The Madonna of Excelsior&lt;/I&gt; (2002) and Lindsey Collen's <I>Getting Rid of It&lt;/I&gt; (1997), I will explore how these texts raise questions about the relationship between the violence and renewal in provocative ways. However, the focus on re-invention through narrative raises further questions concerning the shift from realism and the so-called new aesthetic in recent fiction: how does one avoid trivialising trauma through fictionalising it, or counter readings which co-opt the texts into a variety of conservative public discourses around reconciliation or rainbow-nationhood? Finally, to what extent can these fictions point to the possibilities of new ways of "being" in a world which seems to be testing received notions of what it means to be human?

Daar bestaan 'n voortdurende debat oor pogings om traumatiese ervarings, van persoonlike sowel as publieke aard, in 'n verskeidenheid kultuurvorms te vertaal. In fiktiewe verhale behels dit dikwels dat daar op herdefiniëring van selfhede gefokus word, wat in verband gebring kan word met die vloeibaarheid van identiteite gedurende tye van akute sosiale oorgang. Met behulp van 'n vergelykende studie van die strategieë wat in Zakes Mda se <I>The Madonna of Excelsior&lt;/I&gt; (2002) en Lindsey Collen se <I>Getting Rid of It&lt;/I&gt; (1997) gebruik word, gaan ek ondersoek instel na hoe hierdie tekste op prikkelende wyse aanleiding gee tot vrae oor die verhouding tussen geweld en vernuwing. Die fokus op heruitvinding deur vertelling gee egter verder aanleiding tot vrae oor die verskuiwing van realisme en die sogenaamde nuwe estetiek in onlangse fiksie: hoe vermy 'n mens die trivialisering van trauma deur die fiksionalisering daarvan, of hoe vorm 'n mens 'n teenwig vir voorlesings wat die tekste by 'n verskeidenheid konserwatiewe openbare diskoerse oor versoening of "reënboognasieskap" betrek? Ten slotte, in watter mate kan hierdie fiksie dui op moontlike nuwe maniere van "wees" in 'n wêreld wat die indruk skep dat dit besig is om aanvaarde begrippe van wat dit beteken om menslik te wees, te toets?

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/content/litstud/20/3_4/EJC62377
2004-12-01
2016-12-04
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