oa Alternation - Arthur Nortje and the Unhomely

Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



Nortje has occupied literary consciousness in South Africa as an absent presence. His force and significance is recognised in the handful of poems that have circulated among poetry anthologies, but they present a tantalisingly incomplete portrait of the poet. This article aims at re-examining Nortje's significance in terms of a wider selection of poems than is currently available in print. It takes as point of departure Nortje's problematisation of the relationship between self and community. Such problematisation takes the form of an articulation of what Homi Bhabha (I994a:37) calls the 'third space' of difference, a space which, according to Bhabha constitutes the discursive conditions of enunciation that ensure that the meaning and symbols of culture have no primordial unity or fixity.

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