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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Whiteness visible: the representation of race in Daphne Rooke's Mittee
Author:Grogan, Bridget
Periodical:Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa (ISSN 2159-9130)
Geographic term:South Africa
race relations
About person:Daphne Rooke (1914-2009)
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/1013929X.2015.1037568
Abstract:Through an examination of Daphne Rooke's 'coloured' narrator Selina in Mittee (1951), this article explores, on the one hand, the extent to which the narrator's critical perspective on whiteness and racial essentialism could be achieved in the novel and, on the other, how adequately a white apartheid-era author could depict a black narrator. Exploring Mittee's ambivalence in relation to the topic of race via a discussion of the novel's depictions of the performativity of whiteness, racial mimicry, sexual relations and embodiment, the article argues that the novel is most politically potent in its critique of white society, but also incapable of transcending the bounds of whiteness to represent Selina in any way other than in relation to it. While whiteness is made subversively visible in the novel, counter to its invisible normalisation in racially unequal societies like the novel's South African setting and South Africa in the 1950s when Rooke published Mittee, it is, within a current reading, ultimately too visible and is presented at the expense of the narrator's specificity. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]