South African Perspectives on Literature, Space and Identity

by Hein Viljoen (Volume editor) Chris N. Van der Merwe (Volume editor)
©2004 Textbook X, 202 Pages


In Storyscapes we listen carefully to what South African writers reveal about themselves and their relations to South African space since the democratic transition of 1994. One main focus is the power of stories to uncover contradictory processes and investments of identity and to point readers toward a more meaningful life. Another main focus is the complexities of the post-colonial understanding of South African land, landscape, and space. Space in relation to race, class, and gender identity figures prominently in analyses and comparisons of diverse South African texts, such as Breyten Breytenbach’s Dog Heart, André Brink’s Imaginings of Sand, as well as the important South African subgenre of the farm novel. Questions of black or hybrid identity are highlighted by confronting older texts with new ones by black and women writers such as A.H.M. Scholtz and E.K.M. Dido. These texts – and a number of Afrikaans texts that are less well-known in the English-speaking world – are set in the wider frameworks of postcolonial criticism and global issues of cultural identity.


X, 202
ISBN (Softcover)
Südafrika (Staat) Literatur Raum (Motiv) Zeit (Motiv) Aufsatzsammlung Geschichte 1994-2003
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2004. X, 202 pp.

Biographical notes

Hein Viljoen (Volume editor) Chris N. Van der Merwe (Volume editor)

The Editors: Hein Viljoen is Professor of Afrikaans and Dutch Literature at the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (South Africa), where he received his Ph.D. with a dissertation on a comparative study of three South African novels using a systems approach. He has published widely on Afrikaans literature and literary theory, including a volume on methodology and representation and an introduction to literary theory (with Chris N. van der Merwe). Chris N. van der Merwe is Associate Professor of Afrikaans and Dutch Literature at the University of Cape Town, and a well-known Afrikaans literary critic. He passed his doctoral examination cum laude at the University of Utrecht (Netherlands) and obtained his Ph.D. at the Rand Afrikaans University (Johannesburg, South Africa) with a dissertation on the Flemish poet and playwright Hugo Claus. He has published widely on Afrikaans literature, including Breaking Barriers – Stereotypes and the Changing of Values in Afrikaans Writing, 1875-1990 (1994) and Strangely Familiar – South African Narratives on Town and Countryside (2001), which he edited.


Title: Storyscapes