By Rita Barnard
Apartheid and Beyond deals trenchant, traditionally delicate readings of writings by means of Coetzee, Gordimer, Fugard, Tlali, Dike, Magona, and Mda, concentrating on the intimate dating among position, subjectivity, and literary shape. It additionally explores the best way apartheid functioned in its daily operations as a geographical process of keep watch over, exerting its strength via such spatial mechanisms as residential segregation, bantustans, passes, and prisons. during the examine, Rita Barnard offers historic context through highlighting key occasions resembling colonial profession, the production of black townships, migration, pressured removals, the emergence of casual settlements, and the sluggish integration of white towns. Apartheid and Beyond is either an cutting edge account of a massive physique of politically inflected literature and an inventive mirrored image at the socio-spatial features of the transition from apartheid to democracy.
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Extra resources for Apartheid and Beyond: South African Writers and the Politics of Place
That there should be connections between White Writing and Life and Times of Michael K is hardly surprising, since the novel was written concurrently with some of the essays in the critical study. Even the lines from Ovid’s Metamorphoses that serve as the epigraph to White Writing indicate the two books’ overlapping concerns. These lines serve to underscore the difficulties that beset the life of Michael K, the gardener, and that have historically beset South Africa, the troubled garden colony: Cadmus agit grates peregrinaeque oscula terrae Figet et ignotos montes agrosque salutat .
21 When Magda asserts that she would not be herself if she did not “feel the seductions of the cool stone house, the comfortable old ways, the antique feudal language,” it is still possible to take the remark as just another momentary, self-canceling speculation. But by the end of the novel, the tone seems to have shifted. Magda’s monologue concludes on a note that suggests that Coetzee’s fictional strategies are not fully explained by an atopic reading. This lyrical finale, however self-consciously announced as “closing plangencies,” expresses a desire that seems rather more specific and local in its implications than the universal linguistic condition of desire and deferral figured for Dovey by the hermit crab: There are poems, I am sure, about the heart that aches for Verlore Vlakte, about the melancholy of the sunset over the koppies, the sheep beginning to huddle against the first evening chill, the faraway boom of the windmill, the first chirrup of the first cricket, the last twitterings of the birds in the thorn-trees, the stones of the farmhouse wall still holding the sun’s warmth, the kitchen lamp glowing steady.
He must live in a hole and hide by day. A man must live so that he leaves no trace of his living. That is what it has come to” (MK ). “Drifting habitation” as a literary strategy must likewise be seen in relation to a particular historical condition. Yet to K lying idle in his bed, thinking without passion (What is it to me, after all? he thought), it was no longer obvious which was host and which parasite, camp or town. . What if the hosts were far outnumbered by the parasites, the parasites of idleness and the other secret parasites in the army and the police force and the schools and factories and offices, the parasites of the heart?