n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - N.P. van Wyk Louw as kanoniseerder (Deel I)

Volume 41, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0041-4751


A canon is a collection of texts that are regarded by a specific society at a specific moment in time as valuable and worth preserving. These texts (often seen as the collective memory of that society) also function as points of reference for literary utterances, judgements and the study of literature. Because the whole process of canonization is also a power game and seen as the entrenchment of values of the ruling classes, it is also referred to as a "sinister creature of consumer capitalism" (Culler 1989). In this article (the first part of a two part study), processes of canonization are discussed against the backdrop of literary systems theory. Within a given literary system there is no harmony between the participants like publishers, magazines and writers groups, but a contest for supremacy, or "capital" in the terminology of Bourdieu. In this regard especially "rewriters" (translators, compilers of anthologies, critics and literary historians) are important role players. These rewriters are mediators between earlier texts and contemporary reception. It is mainly the creative person who is the ideal rewriter, when s / he is not only a writer but also a rewriter. In this study the role of one such rewriter, the prolific Afrikaans poet, writer and canonizer, N.P. van Wyk Louw, is investigated and simultaneously a typology for canonization is proposed.
Uit die praktyk weet ons dat die groot kritikus tientalle, of honderde, werke bespreek : telkens in elkaar ondergedompel raak en uit dié akwatiese ontdekkingstogte sy ervarings vertel - met soveel intelligensie en soveel herinnering aan hierdie en aan ander reise as waaroor hy beskik. En tot 'n sisteem van sy ervarings het (gelukkig) baie, baie min gekom. (Die saamgebalde klomp vooroordele, wrokke en literêr-politieke sette wat by meer as een iemand na 'n sisteem lyk ís dit ook nog nie.)
Uit: "My 'atomistiese' idee" N.P. van Wyk Louw
Slechts bij uitzondering vertrouwen de dichters op hun werk aléén; in verreweg de meeste gevallen achten zij het wenselijk of noodzakelijk hun dichterschap ook op andere wijze ter sprake te brengen. W.J. van den Akker
I believe that the critical writings of poets, of which in the past there have been some distinguished examples, owe a great deal of their interest to the fact that the poet, at the back of his mind, if not as his ostensible purpose, is always trying to defend the kind of poetry his writing, or to formulate the kind that he wants to write. (...) He is not so much a judge as an advocate. T.S. Eliot

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error