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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Divided personas in the early poetry of Arthur Nortje
Author:Smith, Neville
Periodical:Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa (ISSN 2159-9130)
Geographic term:South Africa
About person:Arthur Kenneth Nortje (1942-1970)ISNI
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1013929X.2013.795747
Abstract:This article explores the idea that by writing poems depicting a fragmented identity prior to 1965, Arthur Nortje represented the horror of South African apartheid by using his body as a warzone. It argues that Nortje uses schizophrenia as a trope for registering the destructive psychological impact of racial segregation in the 1960s. The article examines several of Nortje's poems before his departure into exile which describe a haunting fear of implosion by linking the dissociated gaze of the observer to a devastating socio-political topography. It also scrutinises Nortje's use of the constantly shifting and unfolding condition of an ontologically insecure persona as a poetic device, and suggests that he appears to consciously register schizoid symptoms in constructing a flâneur-type observer to record experiences of fragmentation at a psychic level. Nortje assumes the mask of a dislocated self to voice his inner torment as a young man growing up in displaced communities within segregated cities like Port Elizabeth and Cape Town under apartheid. The focus is on how this works as a stylistic technique in the early poems. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]