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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Literary studies in South Africa: contexts of value and belief
Author:Chapman, M.ISNI
Periodical:The English Academy Review
Geographic term:South Africa
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/10131758585310131
Abstract:Recognizing the legitimacy and vitality of social, cultural and literary heterogeneity and taking cognizance also of a worldwide movement towards greater self-reflexivity and diversity in the humanities, the author looks at the relation of literary studies to contexts of value and belief. In South Africa, critical discourse has often reflected a rhetoric of contempt directed at forms of indigenous literary experience and expression. But, over the last decade an invigorating sense of regional and literary identity has begun to manifest itself in areas of humanistic study. There have always been writers and academics who, without necessarily sacrificing fundamental beliefs in humane values, have at the same time pointed the way to fruitful interactions between their British inheritance and South African landscapes, physical, psychological and social. By examining how works were produced in the past, and have been reproduced at subsequent critical moments, students should begin to appreciate the value of scholarly inquiry, and to become aware that critical articulation is not a free 'responsiveness to life', but an activity combining discipline with individualized insights. Exercises in the contextualization of texts are probably best begun, as far as South African students are concerned, close to their own time and place. The fact that South African writers, black and white, engaged centrally, in the 1970s, in debates as to the relation of literary creation to the problems of living in the here and now, can be used as a point of reference. Note, ref.