Free Papers and Essays on Nadine Gordimer
The publication of Ezekiel Mphahlele's An African Image, probably the most influential book of literary and cultural criticism in Africa until recently, effected a revolution in our perception and understanding of our literary history in South Africa. Some of the terms of its evaluation and judgement have acquired their own authority, having been proven with the passage of time to have been prescient: the devastating criticism of the work of Alan Paton. One of its fundamental achievements which is only becoming apparent today, a quarter of a century after its appearance, is to have made it possible for new, young and vigorous white Afrikaans writers (the true inventors and owners of the Afrikaans language are the so-called Coloureds, not the Boers, who merely appropriate this social and cultural instrument) to overcome their nationalistic particularisms by writing within the context of a national literary forum which had been established by William Plomer's Turbott Wolfe and Sol Plaatje's Mhudi. This is what in effect happened with the emergence of the Sestigers writers: Breyten Breytenbach, Andre Brink, Etienne Le Roux, etc. Their emergence was in the extremely politically repressive interregnum, between the Sharpeville massacre of 1960 and the powerful re-appearance of Nadine Gordimer with The Conservationist (1974), when most of the African writers around Drum magazine had fled to exile: Ezekiel Mphahlele, Lewis Nkosi, Bloke Modisane, etc. It is this which justifies the following appraisal, which has been up to the present only been concerned with English-speaking writers. Perhaps a consideration of Eugene Marais and Uys Krige would have been appropriate.
Critical Essays on Nadine Gordimer, ed
It has been necessary to say these preliminary words on the peculiarity of the central problematics of our national history because, as the recent books, by commentators, on and interviews with Raymond Williams have shown, literature, whether in the form of fiction, or drama or poetry, embodies within its mode the social experiences and the imaginative historical sensibilities of a particular moment.(2) This has been particularly so in our national context, even if some of our best writers have pretended otherwise. Literature at its eminently conscious moment is an active imaginative representation of the social history of a particular country, whether in the instance of Tolstoy in Anna Karenina in relation to the freeing of the Russian peasantry from the manacles and chains of serfdom in 1861, or in the case of Balzac whose cycle of novels portray in sorrowful terms the justified defeat of the landed gentry at the hands of the rising bourgeois class, or the example of Chinua Achebe in Things Fall Apart where the catastrophic confrontation between imperial European history and the emerging African national histories, is graphically illustrated, and in our immediate context the exemplary instance of Nadine Gordimer in The Late Bourgeois World which argues for the inseparability of the political destinies of both black and white South Africans in a post-revolutionary era. Each of these writers, in their different and complex ways, show that history, whatever its multifarious configurations and disguises, is at the center of the imaginative literary enterprise. That is so in South Africa, is self-evident to everyone, even to those who vehemently argue to the contrary. In fact, the principal aim of our national literature, whether in its black or white shadings, whether in the African languages, European languages or Indian languages, which is presently being contested in class and race terms. That this is so will be evident on examining a profoundly disquieting essay by Andre Brink on the significance of history for the literary imagination, which forms part of the profile to be studied. To put it calmly, Andre Brink does not seem to have understood the tragic dimensions of our national history.
The lessons of Nadine Gordimer are inexhaustible.]
THE WHITE SOUTH AFRICAN WRITER IN OUR NATIONAL SITUATION by Ntongela Masilela It would be difficult to dissent with the view put forth by a group of young South African Marxist historians that the central problem of our national historiography should be to give a historical explanation as to how a group of white minority settlers was able to impose itself on a majority population of indigenous African peoples.(1) For these historians, who by their conceptual interrogation of the objective coordinates of our national history and by providing rational explanations to its structural movement have revolutionised our understanding of its structure, the fundamental issue of our historiography is not the question of the frontier, and its attendant ideological mystifications, but rather, to indicate the unique compatibility between the ideology and philosophy of Apartheid and the development of capitalism in South Africa. Hence, in our national context, the elimination of either one, presupposes the eventual elimination of the other. Their indissoluble unity logically compels their mutual historical destruction.
Once Upon A Time Nadine Gordimer Theme Essay, Phd Thesis Res
(23) On literary matters also Nadine Gordimer is equally lucid and clearsighted: "I can't imagine how there could be a novel of high ambition without ideas; to me, ideas become themes. They are the thematic and the transcendent aspect of any imaginative work, novels and poems alike... So I think that ideas are of supreme importance." (24) Probably as in no other South African writer, perhaps with the possible exception of Alex La Guma, one finds in Nadine Gordimer politics and literature textured in a harmonious way onto the imaginative structure of a singular national consciousness.
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if you're white you cannot write convincingly of the black situation, and vice versa." (21) This is because in her the political and the imaginative are wedded together in an exemplary fashion. Nadine Gordimer's grasp and understanding of the political dynamics of our history is astounding: "A revolution doesn't happen overnight. The Russian Revolution started in 1905, and it went on through the century. And if you look at the pattern, our revolution is happening; our revolution started a long time ago, at least in the sixties, if not the fifties, and we go from phase to phase inexorably. I'm not talking about revolution in classic Marxist terms, obviously; when black majority rule comes, it will not necessarily be the dictatorship of the proletariat...it may be black capitalism, though I doubt it... Politically I've become socialist in my general outlook, philosophically speaking, despite the fact that these are the years where one has seen the greatest failures of socialist experiments. But still, it's not my nature to be totally cynical." (22) This contrasts remarkably from the apostasy of a few years abo by Susan Sontag, though in all fairness she has recently written a powerful essay pleading for the release of Nelson Mandela.
Nadine Gordimer (20 November 1923 ..
Coetzee in the context of this short sketch for he is still in the process of emerging and has not as yet fully consolidated his critical powers in order to unravel the problems of our cultural history. But Nadine Gordimer! She is truly a phenomenon in the literary history of South Africa, comparable to Machado de Assis in Brazilian literary history. Her beliefs and convictions are unwavering, characterized by the absence of cant, piety and received opinions, as when she boldly disagrees with the view attributed to Andre Brink that "...