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A History of South African Literature


  • Date Published: August 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521153782

£ 32.99

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About the Authors
  • This book is a critical study of South African literature, from colonial and pre-colonial times onwards. Christopher Heywood discusses selected poems, plays and prose works in five literary traditions: Khoisan, Nguni-Sotho, Afrikaans, English, and Indian. The discussion includes over 100 authors and selected works, including poets from Mqhayi, Marais and Campbell to Butler, Serote and Krog, theatre writers from Boniface and Black to Fugard and Mda, and fiction writers from Schreiner and Plaatje to Bessie Head and the Nobel prizewinners Gordimer and Coetzee. The literature is explored in the setting of crises leading to the formation of modern South Africa, notably the rise and fall of the Emperor Shaka's Zulu kingdom, the Colenso crisis, industrialisation, the colonial and post-colonial wars of 1899, 1914, and 1939, and the dissolution of apartheid society. In Heywood's study, South African literature emerges as among the great literatures of the modern world.

    • A very comprehensive one-volume history of South African literature in all its languages, encompassing works from all the communities in the country, both written and oral
    • Covers over 100 writers and their works in their social and historical contexts
    • An essential work for students and scholars of African and comparative literature; those unfamiliar with South African literature will discover one of the great literatures of the world
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'South Africa's rich and complex literary history comes to life in this comprehensive account. … historical breadth gives the book an impressive authority.' The Times Literary Supplement

    Review of the hardback: 'Heywood delivers a most readable, even penetrating summary of South African writing, from ancient Khoisan folktales …' South African Historical Journal

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521153782
    • length: 314 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of abbreviations
    Literary map of South Africa
    1. Introduction: communities and rites of passage
    Part I. Towards Sharpeville:
    2. Poetry before Sharpeville: singing, protest, writing
    3. Theatre before Fugard
    4. Prose classics: Schreiner to Mofolo
    5. Fiction of resistance and protest: Bosman to Mphahlele
    Part II. Transformation:
    6. Poetry after Sharpeville
    7. Theatre: Fugard to Mda
    8. Novels and stories after 1960
    Select bibliography

  • Author

    Christopher Heywood, University of Sheffield

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