South African Literature's Russian Soul Narrative Forms of Global Isolation

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2017-04-20
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

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How do great moments in literary traditions arise from times of intense social and political upheaval? South African Literature's Russian Soul charts the interplay of narrative innovation and political isolation in two of the world's most renowned non-European literatures. In this book, Jeanne-Marie Jackson demonstrates how Russian writing's “Golden Age” in the troubled nineteenth-century has served as a model for South African writers both during and after apartheid. Exploring these two isolated literary cultures alongside each other, the book challenges the limits of "global" methodologies in contemporary literary studies and outdated models of center-periphery relations to argue for a more locally involved scale of literary enquiry with more truly global horizons.

Author Biography

Jeanne-Marie Jackson is Assistant Professor of World Anglophone literature at Johns Hopkins University, USA.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction. Russia in the South African Imaginary

2. The Novel at a Crossroads: Gordimer, Tlali, & the Struggle for Form
I. Testing Trans-Century Parallels
II. Gordimer's Effacement by Narration
III. The Path of Progress in Miriam Tlali's Amandla

3. Making Animals Work in Tolstoy, Coetzee, and Van Niekerk
I. Dismantling Tolstoy's Strider
II. Coetzee's Action of Absence
III. Enduring Isolation in Marlene van Niekerk's Triomf

4. Retreating Reality: Chekhov's South African Afterlives
I. Structuring Chekhovian Timelessness
II. De Wet's Self-Disabling Response
III. The Risky Business of Canonical Affirmation

5. Émigré Fiction and the Double-Bind of Home
I. Permeable Repossessions and Nabokov's Speak, Memory
II. Mark Behr's Not-Quite-Global Novel
III. Nkosi's Mandela's Ego as Ambivalent Mourning

6. Epilogue.

Works Cited


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