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n Journal of Literary Studies - Haunted house, haunted nation : and the South African postcolonial Gothic

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Abstract

Gotiese letterkunde herskep sigself voortdurend oor internasionale grense heen deur te steun op kontemporêre setels van vrees en kulturele angs. Hierdie artikel plaas Marlene van Niekerk se &lt;i&gt;Triomf&lt;/i&gt; (2004) in die konteks van die Gotiese roman as 'n uniek Suid-Afrikaanse ontwikkeling van die postkoloniale Gotiese vorm. In &lt;i&gt;Triomf&lt;/i&gt; hersien Van Niekerk die gebruike wat algemeen in Gotiese fiksie voorkom en skep sodoende 'n letterkunde van terreur wat die &lt;i&gt;Zeitgeist&lt;/i&gt; van Afrikaner-angst vasvang - die roman is 'n resensie van wit Suid-Afrika se burgerlike geloof in kulturele oorheersing. Meer spesifiek span Van Niekerk 'n skim van die Voortrekkertradisie in wat die bestaanbaarheid van Suid-Afrika se gemitologiseerde verlede en die nasie se geprojekteerde postkoloniale aansprake op die hede en die toekoms bevraagteken. Soos Sophiatown se bedekte verlede na die oppervlak kom, word die Benade-gesin agtervolg deur die apartheidsbeleid wat hul tuiste bepaal - die spookhuis word die spooknasie. Ten einde die doel van die spookagtige in &lt;i&gt;Triomf&lt;/i&gt; te illustreer, verwys ek na Jacques Derrida se <i>Specters of Marx&lt;/i&gt; as 'n raamwerk vir die ideologies spookagtige van Van Niekerk se narratief. Wanneer die vrye verkiesing van 1994 in die roman nader kom, maak die spookagtige plek vir die moontlikhede van 'n Gotiese openbaring wat nie slegs die Benades bedreig nie,

By drawing upon contemporary loci of fear and cultural anxiety, Gothic literature continually reinvents itself across international borders. This article places Marlene van Niekerk's &lt;i&gt;Triomf&lt;/i&gt; (2004) within the context of the Gothic novel as a uniquely South African development of the postcolonial Gothic mode. In <i>Triomf, &lt;/i&gt; Van Niekerk reworks the conventions common to Gothic fiction to create a literature of terror that captures the &lt;i&gt;Zeitgeist&lt;/i&gt; of Afrikaner anxieties - the novel functions as a critique of white South Africa's civil religion of cultural dominion. Specifically, Van Niekerk deploys a hauntology of the Voortrekker tradition that questions the congruence of South Africa's mythologised past and the nation's projected postcolonial claims for the present and future; as Sophiatown's buried past rises to the surface, the Benade family find themselves haunted by the apartheid policies that constructed their suburban home - the haunted house becomes the haunted nation. To illustrate the spectral purpose at work in <i>Triomf, &lt;/i&gt; I reference Jacques Derrida's <i>Specters of Marx</i> as a framework from which to view the ideological haunting that Van Niekerk uses in her narrative. As the free elections of 1994 draw near in the novel, haunting gives way to the possibilities of a Gothic apocalypse that threatens not only the Benades, but also the self-sustaining colonial ideology that enables Afrikaner cultural and political superiority.

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/content/litstud/22/1_2/EJC62406
2006-06-01
2016-12-03
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