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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:That loose canon: rumours of South African writing
Author:Barris, KenISNI
Periodical:The English Academy Review (ISSN 1753-5360)
Geographic term:South Africa
literary criticism
social justice
Abstract:The case has been made that through the post-apartheid transition, notions such as 'South African literature' have come to outlive their usefulness. Transnationality, the global knowledge economy, and the influence of poststructural and postcolonial theory are cited as factors which have diminished the analytic worth of a nationally defined canon. Critics have also pointed to an emergent cultural heteroglossia associated with the loss of the anti-apartheid project. Since 1994, many literary and popular texts written within or about South Africa, or by South African authors, have explored a wide range of themes and genres, lending support to this view. The author argues, however, that growing instability around matters of social justice will continue to impose itself on the attention of writers, and that the conventions of South African writing will be modified rather than abandoned. He argues further that a case can be made for a criticism that is cognisant of the conversation between local and global, but is equally cognisant of how the national space itself both concentrates and splinters the material with which it engages by more cross-cutting forms of theory. The argument is related to 'post-transition' narratives that show elements of continuity and rupture: 'Rumours' by Mongane Wally Serote (2013. Auckland Park: Jacana Media); 'Wall of days' by Alastair Bruce (2012. Cape Town: Umuzi); The 'smell of apples' by Mark Behr (1995. London: Abacus); and 'Bad sex' by Leon de Kock (2011. Johannesburg: Umuzi). Bibliogr., note, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]