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n Journal of Literary Studies - Fabrications and the question of a national South African literature

Volume 20, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 0256-4718
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Abstract

The discourse in South African literary studies, post-colonial and general literary studies on the phenomenon of a national literature, this essay contends, is vague and undertheorised. It critically examines claims made by various scholars in the field of South African and post-colonial studies concerning the existence of a South African national literature and proceeds to identify the conceptual difficulties and confusions attendant to the concept of a national literature. It explores the meanings of the terms "nation", "nationalism", "nation-state" and provides a definition of what a "national literature" is. Based on this definition, it concludes that South Africa is a state without a nation and thus a state without a national literature.

Die diskoers in Suid-Afrikaanse literatuurstudies, postkoloniale en algemene literatuurstudies oor die fenomeen van 'n nasionale literatuur is, volgens hierdie artikel, vaag en onder-geteoretiseer. Dit onderneem 'n kritiese ondersoek na bewerings deur verskeie literatore oor die bestaan van 'n Suid-Afrikaanse nasionale literatuur en identifiseer die konseptuele probleme en verwarrings wat met die konsep van 'n nasionale literatuur gepaardgaan. Dit verken die betekenisse van die begrippe "nasie", "nasionalisme", "nasiestaat" en stel 'n definisie van "nasionale literatuur" voor. Op grond van hierdie definisie word gekonkludeer dat Suid-Afrika 'n staat sonder 'n nasie is en dus 'n staat sonder 'n nasionale literatuur.

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/content/litstud/20/1_2/EJC62372
2004-06-01
2016-12-11

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