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oa Litnet Akademies : 'n Joernaal vir die Geesteswetenskappe, Natuurwetenskappe, Regte en Godsdienswetenskappe - Die denker as digter, die digter as denker : D.J. Opperman, N.P. Van Wyk Louw en die digkuns/filosofie-debat in die Afrikaanse letterkunde (Deel 1) : geesteswetenskappe

Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1995-5928

 

Abstract

Hierdie bydrae spreek die veelbesproke (en dikwels omstrede) verhouding tussen die digkuns en die filosofie binne die konteks van die Afrikaanse poësie aan. Die oorkoepelende betoog is dat die verhouding tussen die digkuns en die filosofie teen die agtergrond van die poststrukturalistiese tydsgees verstaan behoort te word as 'n dekonstruktivistiese, hibridiese verhouding. Met spesifieke verwysing na die werk van (en die verhouding tussen) N.P. Van Wyk Louw en D.J. Opperman, word enersyds geargumenteer dat Opperman digters waarskynlik nie soseer teen die filosofie as sodanig, as teen die Platonisme gewaarsku het nie. Vir hierdie waarskuwing bestaan geldige redes. Andersyds stel die studie voor dat 'n essensialistiese begrip van die filosofie as blote Platonisme nie deur die digkuns verdedig kan of behoort te word nie.


This contribution addresses the often discussed and mostly controversial relationship between philosophy and poetry in the context of the Afrikaans literary discourse. The purpose of this two-part article consists in an attempt to shed more light on the possible meanings of D.J. Opperman's alleged warning to poets that if they wanted to be poets, they were to steer well clear of philosophy. In fulfilling the above-mentioned purpose, this article examines the history of the relationship between philosophy and poetry generally - from Plato's condemnation of the poets in his to attempts in German Idealism to synthesise the rift that the Platonic discourse had left (despite the Aristotelian intervention) between philosophy and poetry. The second part of the article considers the deconstructive philosophy of Heidegger on this topic and concludes with an examination of the contemporary poststructural philosophical discourse on philosophy and poetry. The overall contention is that the relationship between poetry and philosophy should be understood as a hybrid or complex relationship. This argument implies an abandonment of the attempt either to separate (in quasi-binary, Platonic "metaphysical" fashion) philosophy from poetry or to sublate poetry and philosophy in one or the other dialectical fashion.
The theoretical framework set out above is brought to bear on Opperman's supposed "poetic" warning against philosophy. On the one hand, it is illustrated through a reading of his celebrated poem "Vuurbees" ("Firebeast"), that Opperman did not shy away from controversial philosophical statements in his poetry. On the other hand, an examination of Opperman's essay overviewing the Literary Laboratory ("Letterkundige Laboratorium") that he founded at Stellenbosch University, read with his much earlier discussion of N.P. Van Wyk Louw's oeuvre, leads to the conclusion that Opperman himself was philosophically astute and that he did not hesitate to employ complex philosophical concepts and positions in his analysis of literature (notably, his analysis of Louw's poetry). This, in turn, leads one to defensibly surmise that Opperman's alleged warning against philosophy carried a more technical and contextual meaning; that he hardly could have meant, or did mean, to advise poets against the whole gamut of the philosophical heritage.

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2012-03-01
2016-12-09

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