Research Articles (Modern Foreign Languages)

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    Dog guides as witnesses with specific reference to Miles and Houellebecq
    (Van Schaik Publishers, 2018) Du Toit, Catherine
    Since Wild Dog first crawled from the Wet Wild Woods and laid his head on Woman’s lap, he has helped man, not only to hunt and protect, but also as guide. A guide with enhanced senses in the physical world who could find a way across unmarked landscapes, a clever empathic being who could lead man to certain places or to specific individuals. No wonder then that the best-known ancient dog deities accompany humans as guides, often on their way to the afterlife. Dog guides—not to be confused with guide dogs—have remained a constant feature of the representation of dogs in literature, reflecting as much of the nature of these dogs as of the nature and needs of the humans they attend. In this way, the human-animal relationship also reveals how the solipsistic tendencies of human self-definition limits our capacity for being in the world. In the two contemporary novels that form the basis of my enquiry, La Possibilité d’une île (2005) by Michel Houellebecq and Op ’n dag, ’n hond (2016) by John Miles, the agency of dog guides introduces an intriguing element of distancing, reminding us that the self has meaning only in relation to another and that human concerns are not absolute.
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    Of dirt, disinfection and purgation : discursive construction of state violence in selected contemporary Zimbabwean literature
    (Tydskrif vir Letterkunde Association, 2018) Ncube, Gibson
    This paper examines post-independent Zimbabwean literary narratives which engage with how the ruling ZANU-PF government frames dissenting voices as constituting dirt, filth and undesirability. Making use of Achille Mbembe's postulations on the "vulgarity of power" and Kenneth W. Harrow's readings of the politics of dirt, the central thesis of this paper is that the troping of dirt and state sponsored violence are closely related to the themes of memory and belonging. Literary works by writers such as Chistopher Mlalazi, NoViolet Bulawayo and John Eppel become self-effacing speech acts that are involved in reimagining and revisioning our understanding of power dynamics and how this affects human and social experiences.
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    Boer-uitbeeldings in Franse jeugliteratuur tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog
    (AOSIS Publishing, 2010-07-13) Steyn, J. E. T.
    Voorstellings van die “ander” of die “vreemde” word grootliks beïnvloed deur die voorsteller se eie historiese konteks. Wanneer hierdie konteks verander, gebeur dit dikwels dat die voorstelling van die “ander” ook aangepas word by hierdie veranderings. Hierdie artikel kyk kortliks hoedat die Franse voorstellings van die Boere verskil in jeugromans wat vóór die Anglo-Boereoorlog geskryf is van jeugromans wat oor die Anglo-Boereoorlog handel. Vóór die oorlog word die Boer as ’n Nederlandse afstammeling beskryf wat byna agterlik en in uiterste eenvoud leef. Wanneer die Anglo-Boereoorlog uitbreek, word die Boer egter ’n soort alter ego vir die Franse wat indirek Frankryk se stryd teen die Britte voortsit. Hierdie artikel bespreek die manier waarop die Franse hulle voorstelling van die Boere aanpas sodat jong Franse lesers met die Boere kan identifiseer.
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    Perpetuating the Third World? evaluating knowledge production in the field of German Studies in an African context
    (Stellenbosch University, Department of General Linguistics, 2016) Von Maltzan, Carlotta
    This paper critically revisits and examines the seemingly outdated concept of the ‘Third World’ by tracing its historical origins with reference to the Three Worlds Theory, and investigates the reasons for the persistent implied or direct usage of the term in public and scientific discourse when referring to contexts which are typically considered to be underdeveloped. Of particular interest is the way in which knowledge production in German Studies functions in an African context which, as is argued, is influenced by complex relations that straddle the divide between a so-called “Western” and a so-called “African” perspective of the African continent, given that these perspectives are essentially determined by asymmetrical relations of wealth and power. To this end, the paper evaluates the self-perception of two academic journals in the field of German Studies published in West Africa and Southern Africa, respectively, by querying whether they participate in the postcolonial project of ‘writing back’ or rewriting colonialism in order to develop a new understanding of their participation in knowledge production.
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    Polyphony and counterpoint : mechanisms of seduction in the diaries of Helen Hessel and Henri Pierre Roche
    (AOSIS Publishing, 2015-06-25) Du Toit, Catherine
    Henri Pierre Roché (1879–1959), the author of Jules et Jim, has been called a general introducer, an exemplary amateur, a collector of women and art and one of the most prolific diarists and active lovers in recorded history. Author of a collection of vignettes about Don Juan, Roché was fascinated with the figure of the seducer and in his twenties planned to devote his life to the creation of a body of work which would examine moral, intellectual, social and sexual relations between women and men. To this end, he would transform his life into a laboratory where real-life experiences would become the main source of reference. Roché’s diary spans sixty years and abounds in tales of seduction. However, the most intense and captivating intrigue of seduction and betrayal in his diary, is his relationship with Helen Hessel. At the start of their affair, Roché suggested that she too should keep a diary of the maelstrom of passion into which they were plunged. Written in French, German and English, Helen Hessel’s diary captures the drama of seduction and functions on several levels: realistic, visionary, absorbed in her thoughts and emotions and yet critical of herself and others. A juxtaposed reading of the two diaries generates a fascinatingly dense texture, revealing the mechanisms of seduction at play. The counterpoint created by these two interdependent voices becomes ever more complex as one becomes aware of the intertextual references that contribute to the emerging polyphony of recorded life and love.