The Columbia Guide to South African Literature in English Since 1945

The Columbia Guide to South African Literature in English Since 1945

Gareth Cornwell
Dirk Klopper
Craig MacKenzie
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    The Columbia Guide to South African Literature in English Since 1945
    Book Description:

    From the outset, South Africa's history has been marked by division and conflict along racial and ethnic lines. From 1948 until 1994, this division was formalized in the National Party's policy of apartheid. Because apartheid intruded on every aspect of private and public life, South African literature was preoccupied with the politics of race and social engineering.

    Since the release from prison of Nelson Mandela in 1990, South Africa has been a new nation-in-the-making, inspired by a nonracial idealism yet beset by poverty and violence. South African writers have responded in various ways to Njabulo Ndebele's call to "rediscover the ordinary." The result has been a kaleidoscope of texts in which evolving cultural forms and modes of identity are rearticulated and explored.

    An invaluable guide for general readers as well as scholars of African literary history, this comprehensive text celebrates the multiple traditions and exciting future of the South African voice. Although the South African Constitution of 1994 recognizes no fewer than eleven official languages, English has remained the country's literary lingua franca. This book offers a narrative overview of South African literary production in English from 1945 to the postapartheid present. An introduction identifies the most interesting and noteworthy writing from the period. Alphabetical entries provide accurate and objective information on genres and writers. An appendix lists essential authors published before 1945.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50381-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Gareth Cornwell
  4. Chronology
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  5. South African Literature in English Since 1945: Long Walk to Ordinariness
    (pp. 1-42)

    This introductory essay is a modest exercise in literary history, and since literary history continues to be a controversial domain of academic enquiry, some initial statement of intent seems appropriate. Literary history—the life story, encoded in books, of a suprapersonal entity (the national culture, “the spirit of an age,” “the mind of a people,” and so on)—has been treated with extreme skepticism by almost every literary-critical movement since the early twentieth century. From Russian Formalists to New Critics to poststructuralists, the complaint has been that literary history is (necessarily?) about virtually anything and everything except literature:

    It presents...

  6. Part One
  7. Part Two
  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 227-242)
  9. Index
    (pp. 243-252)