Rewriting Modernity: Studies in Black South African Literary History

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Ohio University Press, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 236 pages
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Rewriting Modernity: Studies in Black South African Literary History connects the black literary archive in South Africa—from the nineteenth-century writing of Tiyo Soga to Zakes Mda in the twenty-first century—to international postcolonial studies via the theory of transculturation, a position adapted from the Cuban anthropologist Fernando Ortiz. David Attwell provides a welcome complication of the linear black literary history—literature as a reflection of the process of political emancipation—that is so often presented. He focuses on cultural transactions in a series of key moments and argues that black writers in South Africa have used print culture to map themselves onto modernity as contemporary subjects, to negotiate, counteract, reinvent, and recast their positioning within colonialism, apartheid, and the context of democracy.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 The transculturation of enlightenment
27
2 Time and narrative
51
3 Modernising tradition
77
4 Fugitive pieces
111
5 Lyric and epic
137
6 The experimental turn
169
Notes
205
Select bibliography
215
Index
229
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About the author (2005)

David Attwell is Chair of Modern Literature (postcolonial studies) in the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York, United Kingdom. His previous work includes Doubling the Point: Essays and Interviews and J. M. Coetzee: South Africa and the Politics of Writing.

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