The historiographic metafiction of Etienne van Heerden

Murray, Paul Leonard (2002-04)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis investigates the possibility that there are other ways in which to represent the past, not just the traditional way as practised by historians. For instance, other forms such as historical fiction in the historical novel, and therefore, narrative, can act as an important conduit for conveying historical meaning. Through the examination of the historiographic metafiction of the South African writer, Etienne Van Heerden, this study has concluded that through a reading of both the author's belletristic and theoretical texts, readers interested in history and literature will gain some understanding of the problems that come with writing up the past. At the same time, they will gain some knowledge of a different way of writing about South African history, because the author portrays the historical events in a refreshing, vivid and imaginative way. However, it needs to be said from the outset that in no way is the writer of this thesis neglecting the merits of traditional history or advocating its abolition, which is, ultimately, the scientific way of representing the past and remains sacred and paramount for the historian, both amateur and professional.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis ondersoek die moontlikheid dat die verlede volgens ander sienswyses voorgestel kan word en nie slegs volgens die tradisionele sienswyses van historici nie. Daar is byvoorbeeld ander vorme, soos historiese fiksie wat in historiese novelles gebruik word, en daarom kan die narratief as 'n belangrike kanaal dien om historiese betekenis mee oor te dra. Deur 'n ondersoek van die historiese metafiksie van die Suid-Afrikaanse skrywer, Etienne van Heerden, kom hierdie studie tot die gevolgtrekking dat deur die lees van beide die skrywer se belletristiese en teoretiese tekste, lesers wat in die geskiedenis en literatuur belangstel, 'n begrip sal kry van die problematiek wat gepaard gaan met die skryf van geskiedenis. Terselfdertyd sal hulle 'n begrip kry van 'n alternatiewe skryf van die Suid-Afrikaanse geskiedenis, omdat die skrywer historiese gegewens in 'n verfrissende, helder en verbeeldingryke wyse oordra. Dit moet egter beklemtoon word dat die skrywer van hierdie tesis geensins die meriete van tradisionele geskiedskrywing negeer of die afskaffing daarvan voorstaan nie, aangesien die wetenskaplike voorstelling van die verlede kosbaar en van kardinale belang vir beide amateur en professionele historici bly.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53120
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