oa Alternation - She felt the future in her bones'- Gibbon's Souls in Bondage

Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



Gibbon's preferred medium was the short story. As a close friend of Joseph Conrad, Gibbon is often referred to by Conrad's biographers as 'Perceval Gibbon, the short story writer', and until the re-publication of his 1911 novel Margaret Harding in 1983 it was only in anthologies of short stories that his prose remained in print. His profession as journalist and war correspondent probably accounts for his attraction to the short story form: it provided a suitable vehicle for his distinctive combination of acute social observation and disciplined compositional style. In the stories, Gibbon juxtaposes black and white, Boer and Briton, rural and cosmopolitan. But his novels achieve, in a more sustained and successful way, a fictional account of a developing society heading not only for the 1910 Act of Union that would unite white colonial South Africa, but the 1913 Native Land Act that would effectively deny black people any possibility of sharing in the benefits of the economic and political life of the country.

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