Die problematiese afbakening tussen sommige kortverhaalbundels en die roman in Afrikaans, aan die hand van geselekteerde tekste

Uys, Hendrik-Muller (2012-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Since the sixties many short story collections referred to as ‘eenheidsbundels’ (‘unified volumes’) have appeared in Afrikaans. Especially those collections published since the eighties and nineties prominently display an overall unity suggestive of the greater unity found in the novel. These collections are usually characterised by the recurring appearance of characters beyond the borders of the individual stories and the use of themes and recurring motifs that run through the collection. Sometimes the separate stories within a collection share the same time period or geographical space. The same narrator may also appear throughout the collection. Although the individual stories within a volume may be regarded in isolation (or even published in isolation), they will inevitably be deprived of possible interpretations that would otherwise have been evident in relation to the collection as a whole. As a result, it would seem that the boundary between the short story volume and the novel becomes blurred in these unified collections. The main objective of this thesis is to try to determine whether the short story collections under discussion represent a new genre or subgenre or whether they could possibly constitute a continuation of an existing genre. The point of departure is the suggestion by J.P. Smuts (1989: 23) that the phenomenon is linked to the writers of the sixties’ rebellion against stereotyped literary forms and that these collections appear to represent an intermediate form, something that lies between the traditional short story collection and the novel. Chapter 2 serves as the theoretical foundation of the research: the traditional characteristics of the short story and novel are investigated. Postmodernism as school of thought associated with the problematisation of the boundaries between genres is also investigated. In Chapters 3 and 4 two unified collections from the nineties are analysed: Jaco Botha’s Sweisbril (1999) and S.P. Benjamin’s Die lewe is ’n halwe roman (1999). The purpose of these analyses is to determine the extent to which the extensive unity in these collections can be compared to the unity found in the novel. The secondary goal of the thesis is to suggest (in response to Maritha Snyman’s appeal (2011)) a more suitable Afrikaans name for the study object (“eenheidsbundel”). Neil Cochrane and Nina Botes’s proposed term “kortverhaalsiklus” (“short story cycle”) (2011) is considered, but Andr P. Brink’s reference to “’n soort kortverhaal-roman” (“a kind of short story novel”) finally takes precedence. The conclusion finds that the type of collection under discussion does represent a hybrid intermediary form located somewhere between the traditional short story collection and the novel, a form the development of which was probably influenced by postmodernism. The form seems to be a continuation of the tradition of the short story collection, one that has evolved towards the novel. Cochrane and Botes’s term “kortverhaalsiklus” is rejected in favour of the proposed term “kortverhaal-roman” (with some qualifications). This term can co-exist with terms such as “hibridiese bundel” (“hybrid volume”) or the more vague “eenheidsbundel”. The observation that the term “kortverhaalsiklus” does not convey the hybrid quality of the form, and the fact that Suzanne Ferguson (2003) points out that not all unified volumes are necessarily cycles, was decisive.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Van die sestigerjare af het daar verskeie kortverhaalbundels in Afrikaans verskyn waarna literatore as ‘eenheidsbundels’ verwys. Veral di sedert die tagtiger- en ne ntigerjare toon ’n opvallende hegtheid wat selfs aan die groter eenheid van die roman herinner. Hierdie bundels word byvoorbeeld gekenmerk deur karakteroorvleuelings oor die grense van die verskillende verhale heen, die gebruik van oorkoepelende temas en die deurgaanse herhaling van motiewe. Soms deel die verskillende verhale in ’n bundel dieselfde tydvak of geografiese ruimte. Dieselfde vertellende instansie kan ook regdeur die bundel voorkom. Alhoewel die aparte bundelverhale in isolasie beskou (of selfs gepubliseer) kan word, word hulle so van interpretasiemoontlikhede ontneem wat slegs binne bundelverband waargeneem kan word. Dit wil gevolglik voorkom of die grens tussen die kortverhaalbundel en die roman in die eenheidsbundel vervaag. Die hoofdoelwit van hierdie tesis is om te probeer vasstel of die hegte eenheidsbundel van veral sedert die tagtigerjare in Afrikaans ’n nuwe genre of subgenre verteenwoordig en of dit moontlik ’n voortbouing op ’n bestaande genre is. Daar word uitgegaan van J.P. Smuts (1989: 23) se stelling dat die betrokke verskynsel aan die jare sestig se opstand teen geykte liter re vorme te koppel is en dat hierdie bundels ’n tussenvorm is, iets wat tussen die tradisionele kortverhaalbundel en die roman l . Hoofstuk 2 dien as die teoretiese basis van die ondersoek: die algemene kenmerke van die tradisionele kortverhaal en roman word ondersoek. Die postmodernisme as denkrigting wat met die opheffing van genregrense geassosieer word, word ook kortliks ondersoek. In hoofstukke 3 en 4 word twee hegte eenheidsbundels uit die ne ntigerjare breedvoerig bespreek: Jaco Botha se Sweisbril (1999) en S.P. Benjamin se Die lewe is ’n halwe roman (1999). Die oogmerk is om vas te stel in hoeverre die uitgebreide eenheid in hierdie bundels aan die hegte eenheid van die roman herinner. Die sekond re doelwit van die tesis is om, na aanleiding van Maritha Snyman (2011) se pleidooi, ’n meer geskikte benaming vir die studieobjek (“eenheidsbundel”) te probeer voorstel. Neil Cochrane en Nina Botes (2011) se keuse van die term “kortverhaalsiklus” vir die hegter soort eenheidsbundel word bekyk, maar Andr P. Brink se verwysing na “’n soort kortverhaal-roman” geniet voorlopige voorkeur. In die konklusie word bevind dat die bespreekte bundels wel ’n hibridiese tussenvorm verteenwoordig wat iewers tussen die tradisionele kortverhaalbundel en die roman gele is en waarvan die ontstaan en ontwikkeling waarskynlik deur die postmodernisme be nvloed is. Die vorm blyk ’n voortsetting van die kortverhaalbundeltradisie te wees wat in die rigting van die roman ge volueer het. Cochrane en Botes se term “kortverhaalsiklus” word afgewys ten gunste van die voorgestelde term “kortverhaal-roman” (met voorbehoude) wat naas terme soos “hibridiese bundel” en die vaer “eenheidsbundel” sou kon bestaan. Die waarneming dat die term “kortverhaalsiklus” niks oor die romanagtigheid of die hibriditeit van die vorm oordra nie, terwyl Suzanne Ferguson (2003) onder andere daarop wys dat nie alle eenheidsbundels noodwendig siklusse is nie, was hier deurslaggewend.

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