. South Africa in the Global Imaginary
. Durham: Duke University Press, 2001. Print.Abstract
This special issue of Poetics Today explores the development of a South African literary identity in the face of its staggering cultural, historical, and linguistic diversity. The collection uses the idea of the "global imaginary" to explore the ways the outside world has constructed ideas about South African literature as well as the way South Africans themselves have fashioned their literary selfhood. Articles address the legacy of colonialism and apartheid and wrestle with the fact that in spite of the fact that there are eleven official languages in South Africa and that many of the cultures have historically relied on an oral tradition, the dominant works continue to be those that are written down, in English. As de Kock writes in his introduction, the collection "raises a multiplicity of questions about the colonization of culture." There has been a "trope of binary pairing," he writes, between white and black, civilized and backward, home and exile, colonizer and colonized, which obscures the richness and complexity of the South African literary tradition. This collection promises to at least begin to correct that oversimplification.
Contributors: Louise Bethlehem, Jonathan Crewe, Dirk Klopper, Leon de Kock, Loren Kruger, Sonja Laden, Simon Lewis, Peter Merrington, Patricia Watson Shariff, Pippa Skotnes
. Ideology and Jewish Identity in Israeli and American Literature
. 2001. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Israeli and American critics debate what constitutes Jewish identity in modern Jewish literature.
. Return from the Archipelago: Narratives of Gulag Survivors.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Return from the Archipelago is the first comprehensive historical survey and critical analysis of the vast body of narrative literature about the Soviet gulag. Leona Toker organizes and characterizes both fictional narratives and survivors’ memoirs as she explores the changing hallmarks of the genre from the 1920s through the Gorbachev era. Toker reflects on the writings and testimonies that shed light on the veiled aspects of totalitarianism, dehumanization, and atrocity. Identifying key themes that recur in the narratives-arrest, the stages of trial, imprisonment, labor camps, exile, escapes, special punishment, the role of chance, and deprivation.Toker discusses the historical, political, and social contexts of these accounts and the ethical and aesthetic imperative they fulfill. Her readings provide extraordinary insight into the prisoners’ experiences of the Soviet penal system. Special attention is devoted to the writings of Varlam Shalamov and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, but many works that are not well known in the West, especially those by women, are addressed. Consideration is also given to events that recently brought many memoirs to light years after they were written. A pioneering book on an important subject, Return from the Archipelago is an authoritative resource for scholars in Russian history and literature.