Manlike subjektiwiteit in die Afrikaanse prosa vanaf 1980 tot 2000

Visagie, Andries Gerhardus (2004-12)

Thesis (DLitt (Afrikaans and Dutch))--University of Stellenbosch, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Since the 1980s the narrative prose of male writers in Afrikaans has been characterised by an intensive questioning of consolidated masculine subjectivity with the (political) father as its primary manifestation. The growing influence of postmodernism and the greater freedom enjoyed by women and gay authors to write about gender issues, facilitated the process of paternal emancipation in Afrikaans narrative. This dissertation is a study of the representation of masculine subjectivity in Afrikaans prose writing from 1980 to 2000 concentrating on the diverse expressions of masculine subjectivity in literary texts with reference to the work of Luce Irigaray (1980 and 1985) on subjectivity, and the theory of R.W. Connell (1995) on the plurality of masculinities. The position of the father in conveying political values to the son within the Oedipal context is examined in a number of texts with specific emphasis on the contrasting processes regulating the hegemonic masculinity of the white father (Alexander Strachan 1984 and Mark Behr 1993) and the marginalised masculinity of the coloured father during apartheid (Benjamin 1997). The work of Alexander Strachan (1994), Piet van Rooyen (1997) and Johann Botha (1997) are examples of texts that display resemblance to the literature of the “School of Virility” identified by Peter Schwenger (1984: 13). Unlike the male protagonists in colonial texts, the masculine subjects in the work of Van Rooyen and Botha can no longer escape the political and historical turmoil of civilisation by finding refuge in “pristine” and unpoliticised hunting fields. Since 1994 the loss of political power, which for so long conditioned the masculine subjectivity of Afrikaner men, has also reached the hunting fields of postcolonial southern Africa. Through the influence postmodernism, a productive tension in literature and theory has developed between the autonomous, consolidated masculine subject, and the decentered masculine subject. Breyten Breytenbach’s representation of the fragmented masculine subject opens up the possibility of a move away from the historical imperatives of the totalising, and often violent, masculine subject. However, Breytenbach (1998) suggests that, in some instances, the fragmented masculine subject may be co-opted by the historically persistent discourse of the autonomous (and violent) masculine subject. Gay writers Koos Prinsloo (1992) and Johann de Lange (1996 and 2000), and to a lesser extent Hennie Aucamp (1981), devote themselves to a sceptical interrogation of identity and subjectivity as categories that are based on heterosexist values. Prinsloo and De Lange employ sexuality as a way to give expression to their antihumanist critique of the subject. The tension between consolidated masculine subjectivity and decentered masculine subjectivity is also present in the autobiography of Joseph Marble (1999). In Marble’s life history the discontinuity between the youthful “I” as protagonist and the adult “I” as narrator contributes to the multiplicity that ultimately characterises Marble as a masculine subject in the text. Finally, this dissertation presents a view of masculine subjectivity in Afrikaans narrative that emphasises diversity. Yet, it is noticeable that nearly all the texts under discussion maintain a certain relationship with hegemonic masculinity. Furthermore, it is only in the work of a small number of writers such as Breytenbach, Prinsloo and De Lange that the interrogation of masculine subjectivity leads to an exploration of modes of being that may transcend the historically persistent discourse of masculine domination.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Sedert die jare tagtig van die twintigste eeu word die prosa van manlike skrywers in Afrikaans gekenmerk deur ’n intensiewe bevraagtekening van gekonsolideerde manlike subjektiwiteit soos veral beliggaam deur die (politieke) vader. Hierdie proses van ontvoogding in die Afrikaanse prosa is gefasiliteer deur die groeiende invloed van die postmodernisme en die groter vryheid wat vroueskrywers en gay skrywers geniet het om oor geslagtelike kwessies te skryf. Hierdie proefskrif is ’n studie van die representasie van manlike subjektiwiteit in die prosa van 1980 tot 2000 en bestudeer die uiteenlopende verskyningsvorms van manlike subjektiwiteit in literêre prosatekste met verwysing na onder andere die werk van Luce Irigaray (1980 en 1985) oor subjektiwiteit en die teorie van R.W. Connell (1995) oor manlikheid as ’n meervoudige verskynsel. Die posisie van die vader in die oordrag van politieke waardes na die seun word in enkele tekste ondersoek binne die Oidipale familiedrama met aandag vir die kontrasterende prosesse wat ’n rol speel by die hegemoniese manlikheid van die blanke vader (Alexander Strachan 1984 en Mark Behr 1993) en die gemarginaliseerde manlikheid van die gekleurde vader tydens apartheid (S.P. Benjamin 1997). Strachan (1994) se prosa word verder saam met die werk van Piet van Rooyen (1997) en Johann Botha (1997) bestudeer as voorbeelde van tekste wat toegespits is op viriele manlikheid. By Van Rooyen en Botha kan die manlike subjek nie meer soos in die koloniale prosa die vermoeiende politiek en geskiedenis van die beskawing agterlaat deur hom tot die “ongeskonde” en ongepolitiseerde jagveld te wend nie. Die verlies van politieke mag, wat vir lank die manlike subjektiwiteit van die Afrikanerman bepaal het, is na 1994 ook ’n werklikheid op jagvelde van die postkoloniale Suider-Afrika. ’n Produktiewe spanning in beskouings van manlike subjektiwiteit bestaan sedert die postmodernisme tussen die outonome, gekonsolideerde subjek en die gedesentreerde subjek. Breyten Breytenbach (1998) se representasie van die gefragmenteerde manlike subjek bied op die oog af die potensiaal om manlike subjektiwiteit los te maak van die geweld en dominasie wat die patriargale orde kenmerk. By Breytenbach blyk dit egter dat die gefragmenteerde manlike subjek in sommige gevalle gekaap kan word deur die histories standhoudende diskoers van die outonome (en gewelddadige) manlike subjek. Die gay skrywers Koos Prinsloo (1992) en Johann de Lange (1996 en 2000), en in ’n mindere mate Hennie Aucamp (1981), is in hulle werk betrokke by ’n skeptiese vraagstelling oor identiteit en subjektiwiteit as kategorieë wat gegrond is op heteroseksistiese waardes. Prinsloo en De Lange gryp gay seksualiteit aan as ’n medium om uiting te gee aan hulle antihumanistiese kritiek teen die subjek. Die spanning tussen gekonsolideerde manlike subjektiwiteit en gedesentreerde manlike subjektiwiteit is ook aanwesig in Joseph Marble (1999) se outobiografie. In Marble se lewensverhaal dra die diskontinuïteit tussen die jeugdige “ek” as protagonis en die volwasse “ek” as verteller by tot die uiteindelike meervoudige beeld wat van Marble as manlike subjek na vore tree. Hierdie proefskrif bied uiteindelik ’n beeld van manlike subjektiwiteit in die Afrikaanse prosa wat diversiteit vooropstel, maar dit is nietemin opvallend dat feitlik elke besproke teks ’n sekere verhouding handhaaf met hegemoniese manlikheid. Dit is verder net by enkele skrywers soos Breytenbach, Prinsloo en De Lange dat die bevraagtekening van manlike subjektiwiteit lei tot ’n verkenning van synsvorme wat moontlik die histories deurlopende diskoers van manlike dominasie sou kon oorskry.

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