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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Popularizing History: The Case of Gustav Preller
Author:Hofmeyr, IsabelISNI
Year:1988
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Volume:29
Issue:3
Pages:521-535
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:popularization
nationalism
Afrikaners
literature
historiography
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/182354
Abstract:Gustav Preller (1875-1943), a prolific and popular South African historian, is the man largely responsible for shaping many of the key myths of Afrikaner nationalism. One of these is the concept of the Great Trek, an interpretation of the nineteenth-century movement of Boers into the interior. This article assesses Preller's work in relation to questions concerning the cultural fabrication of nationalism. It asks how Preller did his popularizing work: what techniques, conventions, narrative formulas and social languages did he deploy in his work? One of the most crucial themes in his work had to do with how people recalled the past and how one could get to 'enact' this memory in their own lives. He relied heavily on oral history and familiarized himself with popular forms of storytelling. In 1916 he became involved in filming 'De Voortrekkers' and these visual skills became a key ingredient in all his ventures. Another tactic that Preller followed was to explore and 'colonize' the institutions of popular leasure. The article concludes with a consideration of one of Preller's historical short stories. Notes, ref.
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