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oa Litnet Akademies : 'n Joernaal vir die Geesteswetenskappe, Natuurwetenskappe, Regte en Godsdienswetenskappe - Elisabeth Eybers se “soetste kettery” : die woord en die Woord in haar poësie

Volume 16 Number 3
  • ISSN : 1995-5928

 

Abstract

In my artikel oor die invloed van die taal van die Bybel en die godsdiens op die poësie van Elisabeth Eybers het ek uit veral twee bronne geput: haar essay oor haar kinderjare, “’n Pastoriedogter” in Herinnering se wei (1966), ’n aantal skrywers se jeugherinneringe wat aanvanklik in 1953 in My jeugland verskyn het, en die hoofstuk oor haar poësie, “Elisabeth Eybers: Die vroulike aanvulling” in D.J. Opperman se seminale studie Digters van Dertig. Die essay oor haar kindertyd as die tweede van drie dogters van wie die vader predikant was in die Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk op die klein Wes-Transvaalse dorpie Schweizer- Reneke, skryf Eybers toe sy 38 was en bekend en gewaardeer as die enigste vrouedigter onder die belangrike geslag van Dertig in die Afrikaanse poësie. In Digters van Dertig, waarvan die eerste druk in 1953 en die tweede druk in 1962 verskyn, blyk dit dat vir Opperman die betekenis van ’n gedig weliswaar op strukturele wyse deur die digter verwesenlik word, maar hy betrek ook lewensbesonderhede van die digter daarby om die betekenis te verdiep en te verruim. Hy skryf dus oor die Dertigers se poësie voordat die New Critics met “close reading” ’n taboe gemaak het van ’n poëtika wat ’n digter se poësie met sy/haar lewe in verband bring. Die Afrikaanse ekwivalent van “close reading” die Stilistiek op linguistiese grondslag (Johl 1986: 51–61) het eweneens die outonomie van die gedig as selfvervullende , selfgenoegsame entiteit die uitgangspunt gemaak van die heersende literêrkritiese bespreking van die poësie in die 20ste eeu, waarvan onder andere Opperman geen klakkelose navolger was nie. Feministiese Amerikaanse vroulike kritici, by name Paula Bennett en Barbara Antonina Clarke Mossberg, het teen die New Critics ingeskryf en my oortuig dat die lewe van die vrouedigter van wesenlike belang is vir die begrip van haar poësie. Bennett sê in haar boek My life a loaded gun oor die vrouedigters wat sy bespreek: “They do not just write about women; they are women in their poems and their identity as women is what they write about” (1990:8).

Elisabeth Eybers’s “soetste kettery” (sweetest heresy): The word and the Word in her poetry

In this article on the influence of Biblical language and religion on the poetry of Elisabeth Eybers, I draw on two sources in particular: Eybers’s essay on her childhood, “’n Pastoriedogter” in Herinnering se wei (1966), a collection of the author’s earliest memories, which initially appeared in My jeugland in 1953, as well as the chapter on her poetry, “Elisabeth Eybers: Die vroulike aanvulling” (“Elisabeth Eybers: The female complement”), in D.J. Opperman’s seminal study Digters van Dertig (Poets of the Thirties). The essay on her childhood, about her as the middle child of a minister’s three daughters, Eybers wrote at the age of 38 when she was celebrated and respected as the only female poet among the important Afrikaans poets of the Thirties generation.

In Digters van Dertig, which first appeared in 1953 and was reprinted in 1962, it appears that for Opperman the meaning of a poem is indeed realised by the poet in a structural manner; however, he also refers to biographical details of the poet to deepen and broaden our understanding. He therefore writes about the poetry of the Thirties poets before the “close reading” of the New Critics made it taboo to connect a poet’s work with aspects of his/her life. The Afrikaans equivalent, “Stilistiek op linguistiese grondslag” (“Stylistics on linguistic grounds”), equally made the autonomy of the poem as a self-fulfilling, self-sufficient entity the premise of reigning literary critical discussions of poetry in the 20th century. Opperman was no blind follower of this school of thought. Female feminist critics in the United States Paula Bennett and Barbara Antonina Clarke Mossberg wrote against the New Critics and persuaded me that the life of the female poet is of crucial importance for the understanding of her poetry. In her book My life a loaded gun, Bennett says the following in her discussion of female poets: “They do not just write about women; they are women in their poems and their identity as women is what they write about” (1990:8).

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2019-12-01
2020-09-29

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