Browsing Masters Degrees (English) by Title
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- ItemAbsence as narrational trope in the fictionalised transliteration of experience : a discussion of Dominique Botha's False River(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2014-12) Visser, Lisa Marie; Mbao, Wamuwi; Roux, Daniel; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Dominique Botha‟s False River, published simultaneously with the rewritten Afrikaans text Valsrivier in 2013, is a fictionalised memoir presented as a novel that is written into the tradition of the plaasroman. The text follows the lives of the Bothas of Rietpan in the Free State and spans the years between 1980 and 1997. In this thesis I discuss the novel focussing on questions surrounding narration and its affirmation or negation of agency, embodiment and subjectivity, the narrative construction of the Botha family‟s isolating liberalism in its present post-apartheid context, and the perception of the author and the novel by Afrikaans and English literary communities. I explore the text‟s relationship to genre, drawing on J.M. Coetzee‟s examination of the literary pastoral in White Writing: On the Culture of Letters in South Africa. It is through this theoretical lens that I argue that False River depicts a conflicted, inconsistent and perforated view of Afrikaner identity and its relationship to gender, notions of landed belonging, Afrikaans-English linguistic co-habitation, and black subjectivity, in an agrarian landscape that dominates through anthropopsychism and primogeniture.
- ItemThe afterlife of the Victorian marriage plot in neo-Victorian fiction(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2019-04) Vorndran, Truchen; Ellis, Jeanne; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The neo-Victorian novel is known for exposing the hidden sex lives of what Steven Marcus in The Other Victorians: A Study of Sexuality and Pornography in Mid-Nineteenth-Century England (1964) and, following him, Michel Foucault in The History of Sexuality (1984) describe as the “Other Victorians”, those marginal and sexually transgressive figures who now populate its pages. However, this has led to the neo-Victorian novel being criticised for its reconstruction of nineteenth-century history into a sexually explicit narrative for the enjoyment of a contemporary audience, or what Marie-Luise Kohkle in “The Neo-Victorian Sexsation: Literary Excursions into the Nineteenth-Century Erotic” refers to as “sexsation” (345). Neo-Victorian novels critically engage with the Victorian past and its narratives by employing either an historical, or partly historical setting. A number of recent novels which are not historical in their setting similarly respond to or engage with a particular Victorian novel or Victorian morals and values either explicitly or implicitly in this highly self-conscious, revisionary fashion. Examples of such novels are Here on Earth (1997) by Alice Hoffman, On Chesil Beach (2007) by Ian McEwan and Re Jane (2015) by Patricia Park. In this thesis, I undertake to read these novels as representative of a separate category of neo-Victorian fiction by focussing on the “afterlife” of the Victorian marriage plot in them, a term I take from John Kucich and Dianne F. Sadoff’s Victorian Afterlife: Postmodern Culture Rewrites the Nineteenth Century.
- ItemAlternative afterlives : secular expeditions to the undiscovered country(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2012-03) Adriaanse, Jaco Hennig; Green, Louise; Slabbert, Mathilda; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis investigates texts which are argued to construct secular imaginings of the afterlife. As such my argument is built around the way in which these texts engage with death, while simultaneously engaging with the religious concepts which have come to give shape to the afterlife in an increasingly secular West. The texts included are: Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven (1907), Mark Twain’s unfinished reimagining of Christian salvation; Kneller’s Happy Campers (1998) by Etgar Keret, its filmic adaptation Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006), as well as the Norwegian film A Bothersome Man (2006), which all strip the afterlife of its traditional furnishings; Philip Pullman’s acclaimed His Dark Materials trilogy (1995, 1997, 2000) in which he wages a fictional war with the foundations of Western religious tradition; and finally William Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984) and Feersum Endjinn (1994) by Iain M. Banks, two science fiction texts which speculate on the afterlife of the future. These texts are so chosen and arranged to create a logical progression of secular projects, each subsequent afterlife reflecting a more extensive and substantial distantiation from religious tradition. Twain’s text utilises a secularising satire of heaven, and draws attention to the irrational notions which pervade this concept. In the process, however, it embarks on the utopian endeavour of reconstructing and improving the Christian afterlife of salvation. In Chapter 3, the narratives under investigation discard the surface details of religious afterlives, and reimagine the hereafter against a contemporary backdrop. I argue that they conform, in several significant ways, to the mode of magical realism. Furthermore, despite their disinclination for evident religiosity, these texts nevertheless find problematic encounters when they break this mode and invoke higher authorities to intervene in the unfolding narratives. Chapter 4 focuses on Philip Pullman’s high fantasy trilogy, which enacts open war between the secular and religious and uses the afterlife as an integral part of the secularising agenda. With the literal battle lines drawn, this text depicts a clear distinction between what is included as secular, or renounced as religious. Finally, I turn to science fiction, where the notion of the virtual afterlife of the future has come to be depicted, with its foundations in human technologies instead of divine agencies. They rely on the ideology of posthumanism in a reimagining of the afterlife which constitutes a new apocalyptic tradition, a virtual kingdom of heaven populated by the virtual dead. Ultimately, I identify three broad, delineating aspects of secularity which become evident in these narratives and the meaningful distinctions they draw between religious and secular ideologies. I find further significance in the way in which these texts engage with the very foundations on which fictions of the afterlife have been constructed. Throughout these texts, I then find a secular approach to death as a developing alternative to that which has traditionally been propagated by religion.
- ItemAlternative worlds in Spenser's The faerie queene(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2000-03) Van Zyl, Liezel; Goodman, Ralph; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. Dept. of English.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Although The Faerie Queene was written in 1589 as a commentary on and criticism of issues which would concern many sixteenth-century Protestant subjects of Queen Elizabeth of England, Spenser creates in his text worlds which even a twentieth-century reader can find significant. Allegorical representations, mythical, historical and poetical figures and pastoral retreats, for example, not only reflect the harsh realities which sixteenth-century English society experienced, but also offer the possibility of escape to worlds of divine and charitable interaction. Spenser, drawing on Philip Sidney's An Apology for Poetry, constructs an ideal world where there is no strife, only peaceful interaction and stability, as opposed to the problems and fears of the "real" world of sixteenth-century England. The story of Faery Land is, therefore, about a magical world of wish fulfilment, but at the same time it also draws on the concrete reality of sixteenth-century England, which has relevance for a twentieth-century world still concerned with many of the same issues of crime, justice, religion, government, relationships and history. Discussion in this thesis focuses on the different "real" and ideal worlds and the devices used to represent these worlds in the narrative of The Faerie Queene. Chapter 1 deals with allegorical representation and distinguishes between two levels of representation: a "literal" or primary level of signification which reflects the everyday experiences of the sixteenth-century reader, and the allegorical level whereby these experiences and desires are personified. The allegory, in tum, communicates and reveals different doctrines or themes: this chapter shows how Redcrosse represents the struggle of the religious man who finally earns salvation by perseverance and dependence on the grace of God. In this allegorical world, Spenser shows the religious conflicts, doubts and victories of the sixteenth-century Protestant man. Chapter 2 explores a series of allegorical parallels in plot, theme and structure in Book 2 of The Faerie Queene which create the "real" and ideal worlds through which Guyon now runs his race. Here, the discussion focuses on the clues provided by the allegory which lead the reader to a redefinition of the categories of good and evil. The primary purpose of the allegory is, therefore, didactic and the sixteenth-century reader is taught how to interpret the signs and symbols of Spenser's allegorical, historical and mythical worlds. This chapter concludes with an examination of Spenser's mythical devices and an exploration of the historical significance of his fictional characters and plots - all of which help the reader to grasp the significance of Spenser's world of knights and fairies. Chapter 3 focuses on a discussion of Books 3 and 4, in which issues of love and friendship come to shape Spenser's ideal world. The analyses consider how sixteenth-century perceptions of marriage, love and power may have influenced his conceptionalization of such an ideal world. The chapter concludes with an exploration of sixteenth-century concerns with time and discord, and demonstrates how Spenser fmally resolves these issues in his vision of the Garden of Adonis. Chapter 4 deals with Book 5, where Artegall represents the just knight. Here the thesis examines Spenser's political aspirations, and shows how historical events are reflected in the actions of characters and how they may influence Spenser's vision of the ideal society with its just ruler. This discussion also focuses, among other things, on those factors which may have contributed to Spenser's disillusionment with sixteenth-century society. Chapter 5 concludes with Spenser's pastoral ideal of Book 6, which brings the promise of peace and prosperity, as opposed to a life of waste and thwarted ambition at Court. On Mount Acidale, Spenser's alternative worlds coincide, as Calidore, representing the fallen and "real" world of Faery Land, is allowed a glimpse of the poetic and divine worlds which the poet, Colin Clout, already shares with three Graces and his mistress. Chapter 5 examines the poet's autobiographical persona in the figure of Colin Clout and the relevance of his appearance on Mount Acidale in particular, and in the poem in general. It is the intention of this thesis to follow the route which Spenser has marked out, to read and interpret the signs and to finally share in this world of dream and thought, experience and vision.
- ItemAn analysis of narratology in mainstream film through the application of gender equity critical assessment(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2019-04) Gagiano, Vicki; Oppelt, Riaan; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Gender inequity in the Hollywood film industry highlights the importance of continued feminist filmdiscourse development and analysis. Female representation in film is also assessed through popular media tests in cyberfeminism such as the Bechdel Test as a measurable method of revealing gender inequity. The power dynamics between male and female protagonists result in hierarchical power plays which affect the agency of a female character’s arc. The development of the Revised Mako Mori Test as an alternative popular media test shows the power distribution of the character arc of female characters in film. The analysis of three science fiction female characters namely Mako Mori (Pacific Rim 2013), Imperator Furiosa (Mad Max: Fury Road 2015), and Ellen Ripley (Aliens 1983), illustrated the impact of a strong narrative arc. The Revised Mako Mori Test indicated that, through the close proximity of a female character’s arc to the narrative arc of the film, her agency is advanced. A strong female protagonist acts as a driving force of a film’s narrative arc if her character arc is continuously developed with consideration of the film’s plot. The Revised Mako Mori Test shows the relevance of assessing the character arc of a female protagonist and how it impacts on female representation in film.
- ItemAnd other scientists : stories of women in science - creating an imaginative archive for marginalised women in science(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-03) Sleet, Francesca Bryony; Murray, Sally Ann; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Please refer to full text for abstract
- ItemThe apartheid censors' responses to the works of Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral and Steve "Bantu" Biko(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2013-03) Ross, Tamlyn Sue; Graham, Lucy; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis explores the ways in which the censors during the apartheid era responded to the works of three black liberation theorists; namely Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral and Steve Biko. Although other studies of apartheid‐era censorship have been published, this is the first to examine the censors’ reactions to the work of key African liberation writers. Apartheid in South Africa brought with it a stringent system of governance, which included a board of censors who would decide, according their interpretation of the laws of the time, whether a publication was considered to be “desirable” or “not undesirable.” One of the major themes examined in the thesis is the interface and tension between the specific and the transnational. As we shall see, all three liberation theorists put forward Pan‐African ideas of liberation, but often explicated upon the specificities of their particular liberation struggles. In a strange act of mirroring, while upholding the idea of South Africa as “a special case” (exempt from the norms of international human rights law), the apartheid‐era censors were concerned about the spread of Pan‐African theories of liberation. Beginning with Fanon, I speculate on the reason why Black Skin White Masks was not banned in South Africa, though Fanon’s later works to enter the country were banned. I also examine Gillo Pontecorvo’s film The Battle of Algiers, which was influenced by Fanon’s theories, and censorship, arguing that the “likely readers” or “likely viewers” of revolutionary material included not only possible revolutionaries, but also paranoid networks of counterinsurgency. I then move on to examine the apartheid censors’ responses to the works of Amilcar Cabral, outlining the interface and tension between local and continental as described above. The final chapter, which deals with the censors’ responses to Steve “Bantu” Biko’s I Write What I Like as well as Donald Wood’s Biko, the film Cry Freedom and other Biko related texts and memorabilia, has some surprises about the supposedly “liberal” censors’ responses to what they deemed to be “undesirable” and “not undesirable” literature.
- ItemBearing witness to trauma : representations of the Rwandan genocide(Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2010-03) Samuel, Karin; Samuelson, Meg; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis will examine representations of the Rwandan genocide and its aftermath in selected literary and filmic narratives. It aims in particular to explore the different ways in which narrative devices are used to convey trauma to the reader or viewer, thus enabling them to bear witness to it. These include language, discourse, image, structure and perspectives, on the one hand, and the framing of the genocide on screen, on the other hand. The thesis argues that these narrative devices are used to provide partial insight into the trauma of the genocide and/or to produce empathy or distance between readers and viewers and the victims, perpetrators and survivors of the genocide. Particular attention is paid to the ways in which the selected novels and films advance the human dimension of the genocide. This will shift both victims and perpetrators out of the domain of statistics and evoke emotional engagement from readers and viewers. The thesis argues for the importance of narrative in bearing witness to trauma, particularly due to its unique ability to forge an emotional connection between reader or viewer and character. The primary texts analysed in the thesis are the novels Inyenzi: A Story of Love and Genocide by South African author Andrew Brown and Murambi, The Book of Bones by Senegalese author Boubacar Boris Diop, along with the films Shooting Dogs, directed by British Michael Caton- Jones, and Hotel Rwanda, directed by American Terry George. In addition to considering the use of narrative devices to produce empathy and engagement among readers and viewers, the thesis explores also the implications of the various outsider perspectives of the writers and film-makers, and the effect that this has on their narratives, not least given the role played by the world community in failing to avert the genocide .
- ItemBecoming the third generation: negotiating modern selves in Nigerian Bildungsromane of the 21st century(Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2009-12) Smit, Willem Jacobus; Samuelson, Meg; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.ENGLISH ABTRACT: In recent years, original and exciting developments have been taking place in Nigerian literature. This new body of literature, collectively referred to as the ―third generation‖, has lately received international acclaim. In this emergent literature, the negotiation of a new, contemporary identity has become a central focus. At the same time, recent Nigerian literary texts are articulating responses to various developments in the Nigerian nation: Nigeria‘s current political and socio-economic situation, diverse forms of cultural hybridisation, as well as an increasing trans-national consciousness, to mention only a few. Three 21st-century novels – Chimamanda Nogzi Adichie‘s Purple Hibiscus (2004), Sefi Atta‘s Everything Good Will Come (2004) and Chris Abani‘s GraceLand (2005) – reveal how new avenues of identity-negotiation and formation are being explored in various contemporary Nigerian situations. This study tracks the ways in which the Bildungsroman, the novel of self-development, serves as a vehicle through which this new identity is articulated. Concurrently, this study also grapples with the ways in which the articulation and negotiation of this new identity reshapes the conventions of the classical Bildungsroman genre, thereby establishing a unique and contemporary Nigerian Bildungsroman for the 21st century. The identity that is being negotiated by the third generation is multi-layered and inclusive, as opposed to the exclusive and unitary identities which are observable in Nigerian novels of the previous two generations. Such inclusivity, as well as the hybrid environments in which this identity is being negotiated, results in a form of ―identity layering‖. Thus, the individual comes into being at the point of intersection, overlap and collision of various modes of self-making. Such ―layering‖ allows the individual, albeit not without challenge, to perform a self-styled identity, which does not necessarily conform to the dictates of society. At the same time, the identity is negotiated by means of an engagement, in the form of intertextual dialoguing, with Nigeria‘s preceding literary generations. The most prominent arenas in which this new identity is negotiated include silenced domestic spaces, religo-cultural traditions, constructs of gender and nation, as well as in multicultural and hybrid communities. The investigation conducted in this thesis will, consequently, also focus on such areas of Nigerian life, as they are portrayed in the focal texts. Various theories of literary analysis (some of which specifically focus on Nigeria), Bildungsroman theory, theories of allegory, (imaginative) nation formation, feminism, gender and performativity, as well as theories of cultural identity and cultural exchanges, will form the critical and theoretical framework within which this investigation will be executed. Chapter One explores how Purple Hibiscus‘s protagonist, Kambili Achike, negotiates her gender identity and voice in order to constitute herself as an independent, self-authoring individual. Chapter Two, which focuses on Everything Good Will Come, investigates the dialectic relationship between Enitan Taiwo‘s national and personal identity, which inevitably leads to her quest to reconceive her gender identity, since national identity, as she finds out, is always an engendered construct. In its analysis of GraceLand, Chapter Three turns to the difficulties that Elvis Oke faces when he attempts to negotiate an alternative masculine identity within a rigid patriarchal system and between the cracks of a fraudulent African modernity.
- ItemBetween wilderness and number : on literature, colonialism and the will to power(Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2006-10-11) Hugo, Pieter Hendrik; Jamal, Dr.; Klopper, D.; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.The eras of colonial expansion and the era designated the modern have been both chronologically and philosophically linked from the commencement of the Renaissance period and Enlightenment thought in the 15th century. The discovery of the New World in 1492 gave impetus to a new type of literature, the colonial novel. Throughout the development of this genre, in both its narrative strategies and the depiction of the colonist’s relationship with the foreign land he now inhabits, it has been both informed and formed by the prevailing philosophical atmosphere of the time. In the context of this discussion it is particularly interesting to note what might be termed the level of regression of the modern ideal, and how it is reflected in the colonial novels written at the time. Commencing with the essentially optimistic Robinson Crusoe and The Coral Island, and progressing through the far darker imaginings of Heart of Darkness, Lord of the Flies, and eventually Apocalypse Now and Blood Meridian, it is possible to trace the effects of the declining power of Enlightenment thought. Whereas earlier texts deal quite unambiguously with the issue of the Western subject’s subjugation of both the foreign environment and the foreign subjects he encounters there, and the relation between subject and object remains quite uncomplicated, in later, more self-reflexive texts the modern subject’s relationship with both the alien land and alien people becomes far more problematic. Later texts such as Heart of Darkness and Lord of the Flies depict a world where the self-assurance of early texts is strikingly absent. Increasingly, as the initial self-confidence of modernism is eroded, secular moral values, too, come to be questioned. It is here that the works of Nietzsche come to play a prominent role in the analysis of how such a decline in modern confidence is reflected in later colonial works. Even later works such as Apocalypse Now and Blood Meridian provide a view of the colonial enterprise that is in striking contrast to the optimism of early texts. The chronological progression of texts dealt with here, spanning an era of almost three hundred years prove to be reflective, to a large degree, of the decline of modernity and the effects of this on the colonial enterprise as depicted in the colonial genre.
- ItemBodies and borders : space and subjectivity in three South African texts(Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2009) Mulder, F. Adele; Klopper, D. C.; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis interrogates the relationship between body, subjectivity and space in three antipastoral novels. The texts which I will be discussing, Karel Schoeman’s This Life, Anne Landsman’s The Devil’s Chimney and J.M. Coetzee’s In the Heart of the Country, all foreground the female protagonist’s relationship to a specifically South African landscape in a colonial time-frame. The inter-relatedness between the body, subjectivity and space is explored in order to show that there is a shifting interaction between these registers in the novels. Arising from this interaction, the importance of perspective as a way of being in the world is foregrounded. The approach adopted in this study is based on the assumption that our experience depends upon how we make meaning of the world through our bodies as we encounter people, places and objects. The lived, embodied experience is always a subjective experience. The conceptual framework is derived broadly from psychoanalysis and phenomenology. My primary concern in this study is how marginal subject positions are explored in the space of the South African farm, which, traditionally, is an ideologically fraught locus of Afrikaner patriarchy and oppression. The novels are narrated by distinctive female voices, each speaking differently, but all having the effect of undermining and exposing the hegemony of the patriarchal farm space. In all three novels the question of genre is involved as forming the space of the text itself. The novels speak to the tradition of the plaasroman and the pastoral and, in doing so, open up a conversation with the past.
- ItemThe body has a mind of its own(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2017-03) Van Wyk, Juanita-Juliet; Roux, Daniel; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation explores the mind versus body dialectic of the Enlightenment period. My thesis draws attention to the tensions within Enlightenment ideology and the manner in which materialist philosophy surfaces as a consequence of an historical period at odds with itself in a variety of ways. It engages the fictional work of three eighteenth century writers: Jean-Jacques Casanova, Denis Diderot and Tobias E. Smollett. These writers show how the presence of the body is made manifest in a cultural context which favoured the intellect over the sensual drives. My discussion ventures to show that for these writers, the mind and body possess similar intellectual capacity. The body possesses an intelligence of its own and is capable of expressing that intelligence in a way that accentuates its innate knowledge and experience. In this way, these writers represent an Enlightenment trend that undercuts the distinction between the rational will and a subjacent, unruly body.
- ItemBorn with the caul : a fictocritical revisiting of race-d and queer(ed) his/stories(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2019-03) Croeser, Chantelle Claire; Sanger, Nadia; Murray, Sally-Ann; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Using fictocriticism, a mode that b(l)ends creative and critical writing, in this thesis I am led on a winding journey in which I explore elusive, intersectional accounts of various kinds of queer and Queer belonging. These are stories from the margins, and they coax me to engage the unsettled relations of my own white, Queer, Afrikaner identities. In so doing I come face-to-face with personal and cultural ghosts, who emerge from disparate clusters of history, story, interview, verse, folk tale, song lyrics, and scholarship. Divided (and yet assembled) into various entries, the thesis begins by contending with the haunting loss of much of my original interview archive with Queer womxn, conducted for a previous project, material I had intended to consider again, more critically, in respect of my own conflicted autoethnographic role in the interview process. For the present study, my point of departure in addressing this now missing archive takes a specific focus on an Afrikaans folk tale known as “The Curse of Boontjieskraal” and “The Curse of the De Wets”. I inventively (re)write and (re)read this material and the speculated aftermath of the curse as a queer story, and thinking around about (B)orderlands, queerness, hospitality, Afrikaner identity, and my growing awareness of the necessarily incomplete archive, I consider what this story can tell us about the politics of inclusion and exclusion, presence and absence. Here, I also write toward expanding the term ‘queer’ beyond the umbrella term for the LGBTQIAP+ community and therefore use ‘Queer’ to signify the LGBTQIAP+ community and ‘queer’ to signify the expanded term. The second path I follow traces the spiritual powers of being gebore met die helm, meaning 'born with a caul'. Using Achmat Dangor’s short story ‘Waiting for Leila’ (2001) and Chris Barnard’s film Paljas (1998), I delve into the queer abilities of caul bearers as receptive to haunting and boundary-blurring. Seeking the experience of haunting as a means of meeting my ghosts, I use folklore as a means to consider what it might look like to retrieve the insight of my helm via the narrative power of queer Afrikaner stories. The final path is one I take with Antjie Somers, a Queer, stigmatised, witch-like figure well-known among Afrikaans people. By bringing permutations of their story into conversation with writing about outcasts like witches and Queer people, I consider the parallels that might be drawn between the experiences and knowledge of such ostracised, unconventional figures. I also consider how Antjie’s story and the story of other queer figures might be able to guide us in the present toward a powerfully recuperative language of storytelling.
- ItemBorrowing identities : a study of identity and ambivalence in four canonical English texts and the literary responses each invokes(Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2008-03) Steenkamp, Elzette; Roux, Daniel; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.The notion that the post-colonial text stands in direct opposition to the canonical European text, and thus acts as a kind of counter-discourse, is generally accepted within post-colonial theory. In fact, this concept is so fashionable that Salman Rushdie’s assertion that ‘the Empire writes back to the Centre’ has been adopted as a maxim within the field of post-colonial studies, simultaneously a mission statement and a summative description of the entire field. In its role as a ‘response’ to a dominant European literary tradition, the post-colonial text is often regarded as resorting to a strategy of subversion through inversion, in essence, telling the ‘other side of the story’. The post-colonial text, then, seeks to address the ways in which the western literary tradition has marginalised, misrepresented and silenced its others by providing a platform for these dissenting voices. While such a view rightly points to the post-colonial text’s concern with alterity and oppression, it also points to the agonistic nature of the genre. That is, within post-colonial theory, the literature of Empire does not emerge as autonomous and self-determining, but is restricted to the role of counter-discourse, forever placed in direct opposition (or in response) to a unified dominant social order. Post-colonial theory’s continued classification of the literature of Empire as a reaction to a normative, dominant discourse against which all others must be weighed and found wanting serves to strengthen the binary order which polarises centre and periphery. This study is concerned with ‘rewritten’ post-colonial texts, such as J.M. Coetzee’s Foe, Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, Marina Warner’s Indigo, or, Mapping the Waters and Aimé Césaire’s A Tempest, and suggests that these revised texts exceed such narrow definition. Although often characterised by a concern with ‘political’ issues, the revised text surpasses the romantic notion of ‘speaking back’ by pointing to a more complex entanglement between post-colonial and canonical, self and other. These texts signal the collapse of binary order and the emergence of a new literary landscape in which there can be no dialogue between the clearly demarcated sites of Empire and Centre, but rather a global conversation that exceeds geographical location. It would seem as if the dependent texts in question resist offering mere pluralistic subversions of the logic of their pretexts. The desire to challenge the assumptions of a Eurocentric literary tradition is overshadowed by a distinct sense of disquiet or unease with the matrix text. This sense of unease is read as a response to an exaggerated iterability within the original text, which in turn stems from the matrix text’s inability to negotiate its own aporia. The aim of this study, then, is not to uncover the ways in which the post-colonial rewrite challenges the assumptions of its literary pretext, but rather to establish how certain elements of instability and subversion already present within the colonial pretext allows for such a return.
- ItemBoundaries in cyberpunk fiction : William Gibson's Neuromancer trilogy, Bruce Sterling's Schismatrix, and Neal Stephenson's Snow crash(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2000-03) Toerien, Michelle; Goodman, Ralph; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences . Dept. of English.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Cyberpunk literature explores the effects that developments in technology will have on the lives of individuals in the future. Technology is seen as having the potential to be of benefit to society, but it is also seen as a dangerous tool that can be used to severely limit humanity's freedom. Most of the characters in the texts I examine wish to perpetuate the boundaries that contain them in a desperate search for stability. Only a few individuals manage to move beyond the boundaries created by multinational corporations that use technology, drugs or religion for their own benefit. This thesis will provide a definition of cyberpunk and explore its development from science fiction and postmodern writing. The influence of postmodern thinking on cyberpunk literature can be seen in its move from stability to fluidity, and in its insistence on the impossibility of creating fixed boundaries. Cyberpunk does not see the future of humanity as stable, and argues that it will be necessary for humanity to move beyond the boundaries that contain it. The novels I discuss present different views concerning the nature of humanity's merging with technology. One view is that humanity is moving towards a posthuman future, while some argue that humanity is not discarded, but that these characters have merely evolved to the next step in the natural development of humankind. Both these views deal with constant change, a notion advocated by both postmodernism and cyberpunk.
- ItemThe changing face of erotica : a study of erotic literature in the works of Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin and Erica Jong(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2004-03) Gavera, Lucille; Hees, Edwin; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. Dept. of English.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: For especially feminist critics, erotic literature depicts an area of human experience dominated by male principles. Until very recently, the rules of erotica dictated that men mostly produced and consumed it, and women played the props. Of course this implies that female subjectivity is constructed by the male gaze, and hence reified and commodified in terms of the male prerogative. To challenge and overthrow 'male-perspective' erotic language and tradition, it has been argued that we need a woman's point of view, definition and description of sexual experience. To attack the phallocentrism of erotica, recent erotic novels have tried to create empowering scenarios for female sexuality in which the female characters are placed in positions of equal sexual power to the male. The analyses of the erotic writing of Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin and Erica Jong in this thesis attempt to determine whether the texts discussed succeed in incorporating diverse styles and orientations of depicting the sexual to construct a new language for desire. During much of his lifetime, Miller's writing was branded obscene, his voice too vulgar and his use of autobiography too egocentric. But critics also came to see his style and voice as revolutionary, and his use of the obscene and the irreverent as literary devices to awaken the reader from a wretched sterility of mind and body. Many attempts have been made to explain what many critics have come to see as Miller's misogynist and patriarchal attitudes in his writing. Although Miller inventively portrayed a sense of people and of place, he seemed less successful at unravelling his attitudes toward sex and women. And so many reviewers do not see Miller playing an expansive role through his writing of the taboo by freeing us from our sexual neuroses, but find that the reader is abandoned within the limitation of a sexual mindset that is only named, not transformed. The limited insight critics see in Miller's writing of the sexual has been ascribed partly to the fact that the sexual odyssey in literature has for centuries been a male prerogative in which the female's only role was to provide material for the fictions the male would create. But as is clear from Nin's and Jong's erotic writing, more and more female writers have taken on this journey, and have succeeded at least to some degree in giving their characters the power and freedom to reach a fundamentally female sexual awareness and position. Great disagreement exists among critics over the literary value and importance ofNin's writing. Her work has been rejected as pointless explorations of erotic entanglements in which writing becomes nothing more than a solipsistic activity. On the other hand, it has been recognised as a new kind of writing of the female aesthetic which ignited the discourse around the issue of a genre of gender. Nin's erotica mostly displays a woman's sensibility by using a woman's language and seeing the sexual experience from a woman's point of view. This implies that Nin treats her female sexual characters as subject-matter rather than object-matter as is generally the case in erotica from the male point of view. Although opposing viewpoints exist of Nin's contribution to the development of a female voice in literature, Nin does seem to expand the boundaries imposed on the writing of the sexual woman by introducing a fluidity in her depiction of gender and of sex - especially through her erotic portrayal of the lesbian relationship and her candid writing of the ultimate taboo - the sexual relationship with her father. While Miller's and Nin's lives were unavoidably entwined with their autobiographical writing, Erica Jong's writing - and by implication her life - was moulded into a media product, and it has become difficult to approach her work except through complex layers of reputation and stereotype. Although Jong's Fear of Flying almost immediately topped the best-seller lists upon publication, the sheer scale of the novel's sales led some critics to think of her work as 'popular culture' rather than 'literature'. Jong's erotic writing has sparked similar criticisms to those lodged against Nin's, especially those which question whether Jong ever attempts to defme her women characters away from a (dominant) male sexual partner. Although Fear of Flying was supposed to be a celebration of female sexual autonomy, feminist critics were troubled by what they saw as the female protagonist's ultimate affirmation of patriarchal standards of female conduct. But despite the varied criticism of Jong's attempt to write an alternative narrative of the female body, some reviewers do see such a new story in her main female character's physical journey in that it coincides with the biological rhythms of her 28-day menstrual cycle. Jong is therefore seen to write into her text much more than a body that seeks and receives sexual gratification to become a body that tells a tale previously absent from American literature. Yet the winds of social, political, economic and cultural change where the sexual is concerned have blown across Miller's, Nin's and Jong's erotic writing, so that the conflicts and challenges that occupied their sexual writing now seem to strike readers as very much dated. In this regard it is important to note how an increasingly 'me-orientated' culture and society - endlessly portrayed and exploited by the media - has forever altered the contemporary view of the sexual. And so the erotic in contemporary society has become ineluctably connected to the sexual value that the commercial gaze bestows.
- ItemChaucer's food basket : nature, sex and violence in The Canterbury tales(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2016-03) Du Preez, Gerhardus David; Roux, Daniel; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept of English.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis explores the representation of food in Geoffrey Chaucer‘s The Canterbury Tales. The food and food culture of a specific time and place disclose particular kinds of information about the social conditions and ideology prevalent in a given historical moment. The representation of food can thus be used as a lens to explore and analyse a whole spectrum of explicit or concealed discourses within a text. Robert Appelbaum talks about food as a literary interjection – when a writer consciously or unconsciously inserts a food or food culture in a text to gesture to an aspect of social or psychological reality. In this thesis, the exploration of gastronomy as a literary interjection is divided into three chapters that deal in turn with the idea of nature, questions around sex and sin, as well as violence in chivalry – all in relation to culinary culture. Food is used, in particular, to discuss the ways in which Chaucer manages to create the effect, in The Canterbury Tales, of characters who are split between private and public selves. The main texts that are used for this purpose are The Franklin‘s Prologue, The Physician‘s Prologue, The Prioress‘ Prologue, The Nun‘s Priest‘s Tale and The Wife of Bath‘s Prologue. Concepts and theories that are integral to this analysis include the notion of the Seven Deadly Sins, Micheal Bakhtin‘s theory of carnival in Rabelais and his World, Edward Said‘s Orientalism and numerous other publications on food history. I argue, ultimately, that the use of food in The Canterbury Tales challenges and overthrows certain dogmatic ideas and ideals within the Late Medieval Period.
- ItemComplex urban identities : an investigation into the everyday lived realities of cities as reflected in selected postmodern texts(Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2010-03) Snyman, Adalet; Goodman, Ralph; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The concept of the city has evolved over time with generations of city dwellers. The rapid advance of technology has promoted globalisation, which has brought about increased familiarity with diverse cultures, but has also exposed issues of marginalisation among communities in cities. In order to approach a more comprehensive understanding of the complexity of the “open” postmodern view of the city it is essential to consider the relevant literature that grapples with issues of human identity and appropriation in the city. This dissertation examines narrative perspectives in the literary works of four postmodern writers: Jonathan Safran Foer, Neil Gaiman, China Miéville, and Lauren Beukes. References to underlying philosophical viewpoints, various perceptions, both “real” and fictional, were incorporated in the discussion. Close attention is paid to the correlation between the novel and the city, and to what extent the city itself can be viewed as a narrative – since, within a postmodern approach, fictional narratives may form discourses that represent, and in a fashion constitute, the city, while subjects at the same time form themselves in terms of their environment. Fiction becomes an invaluable tool for exploring the cityscape and commenting on contemporary issues. In conclusion, the urbanised human subject may be said to play a vital role in establishing the concept of the city, both in “real” culture and in fictional narrative. The representation of the contemporary South African urban milieu in the discussed literature serves to confirm the relevance of local as well as global influences. To justify multiple perspectives on the city consequently means to grant each individual viewpoint validity.
- ItemConsidering coloureds : detangling representations of coloured women in Post-Apartheid South Africa(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2020-03) Jeftha, Caryn; Oppelt, Riaan; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Coloured identity remains a contentious and complex topic in contemporary South African conversations. As an academic area of study, topics based on coloured identity and culture have been written since the 19th century, with historiographies and descriptions progressing from essentialist configurations to postcolonial explorations. Prior to the 1980s, ‘common knowledge’ posited coloured people primarily as products of miscegenation, and arguments for ‘coloured’ to be conceived of as a cultural identity is a recent framework of consideration. A surge in academic and public interests regarding coloured cultural history and identity has grown alongside South African literary traditions that focus on narrative modes linked to autobiography and confessive writing, with a market for ‘coloured’ stories having swelled in the last decade. Authors have provided a burst in texts that document, index and revise historical narratives attached to colouredness. This research sets out to explore the value of texts that pivot on coloured stories, with specific attention to coloured femininities and representations thereof, through reading the novels Eve and What Will People Say?, along with the film Ellen: The Story of Ellen Pakkies. Spurred on by the current social moment where bold retellings of painful pasts are encouraged, this study charts the intersections of intimacy that underpin hidden histories and repressed topics, notions of shame and dignity in coloured self-identification, as well as the value of memory studies in writing, reading and sharing stories entangled with living coloured.
- ItemContested identities : Belhar, Elsies River and Mitchell’s Plain community ideas of queer ‘Colouredness’(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-03) Lunde, Kerenza; Sanger, Nadia; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of English.ENGLISH SUMMARY : While queer studies in Africa have risen in contemporary projects of identity, the homogenising of queerness has resulted in the failure to capture the multiplicity of subjective experiences of queer-identifying persons of colour. The consolidation of persons of colour through the utilisation of the term ‘black’ to refer to the various non-white communities of South Africa has become a popular topic of investigation by queer studies scholarship in Africa. The issues that have risen from this homogenising approach to the queer experiences of persons of colour neglect to honour the multi-cultural and particular realities of the various black communities through consolidating the communities under the broad identifier ‘black’. The term ‘queer’ has been reduced to an alternate reference for persons who practice same-sex sexualities. This research project aims to foreground a subjective portrayal of queer South Africans through a case study of coloured persons who reside in Belhar, Elsies River, and Mitchell’s Plain in the Western Cape, South Africa. This is done to emphasise the lived realities of queer-coloured persons and to highlight how coloured communities’ perceptions are influenced by their historic socio-economic positioning. This thesis queries coloured as a racial identity and broadens the connotation of queer beyond gender and sexuality. This is executed by embarking on an exploration into queer experiences in coloured communities and has been accomplished through the braiding of personal narratives provided by a primary text, which is a transcript of a focus group discussion conducted with six queer-and-coloured identifying participants, and the secondary literary memoirs, Kelly-Eve Koopman’s Because I Couldn’t kill you (2019) and Yusuf Daniels’ Living Coloured (Because Black and White Were Already Taken) (2019). These personal narratives highlight that specific coloured communities hold an uneven tolerance towards sexualities which contradicts their heteronormative standard. The communal practice of codes of silence, and verbal and emotional abuse of queer persons, exemplify the dehumanising projects that promote coloured communities’ negative perceptions of queer persons.