Journal of Literary Studies <div align="left"> <p><strong>Open Access</strong></p> <p>The <em>Journal of Literary Studies/Tydskrif vir Literatuurwetenskap </em>publishes and globally disseminates original and cutting-edge research informed by Literary and Cultural Theory. The Journal is an independent quarterly publication owned and published by the Literature Association of South Africa in partnership with Unisa Press. The journal publishes articles and full-length review essays on literature and comparative literature informed by General Literary Theory, Genre Studies and Critical Theory.</p> </div> en-US (Richard Alan Northover) (Pieter Rall) Tue, 21 Nov 2023 00:00:00 +0000 OJS 60 Post-Apartheid Same-Sex Sexualities: Restless Identities in Literary and Visual Culture, by Andy Carolin <p>Book review</p> Tracey McCormick Copyright (c) 2023 Tracey McCormick Thu, 29 Jun 2023 00:00:00 +0000 LGBTQ+ Literature in the West: From Ancient Times to the Twenty-First Century, by Robert C. Evans Andy Carolin Copyright (c) 2023 Andy Carolin Tue, 12 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Power and the Prison: A Foucauldian Perspective on Herman Charles Bosman’s Cold Stone Jug and Willemsdorp <p>Although the political angle in Bosman’s writings as expressed in his language style are recognized, the prison writing as featured in his two late novels, <em>Cold Stone Jug</em> (1949) and <em>Willemsdorp</em> (written in 1951, first published posthumously in censored form in 1977 and in full in 1998), have received less scholarly attention, especially in terms of his political intent. The present study explores his preoccupation in these works with the brutality of the prison system and the power of the apartheid state. Foucault’s <em>Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison </em>(1975/1995) was employed as a useful theoretical lens in examining Bosman’s critique of the prison system in South Africa and the abuse of power within it. An analysis of the details of police brutality and abuse of power in the censored and uncensored published versions of <em>Willemsdorp</em> has also been included, highlighting the applicability of Foucault’s theorisation on discipline and punishment in the penal system to Bosman’s texts. This study brings to the fore Bosman’s critique of the state, its officials, the unjust practices and the political intention behind his prison writing.</p> Farzanah Loonate Copyright (c) 2023 Farzanah Loonate Mon, 24 Apr 2023 00:00:00 +0000 The Gender Performances of Margaret Atwood’s Aunt Lydia in "The Testaments" <p>This article examines the different gender performances that are demonstrated by three versions of the character Aunt Lydia: first, the Aunt Lydia of the novel version of <em>The Handmaid’s Tale </em>(Atwood, 2010); second, the television version of the same character for the Hulu series, <em>The Handmaid’s Tale</em>; and third, the Aunt Lydia that Margaret Atwood focuses on in her latest novel, <em>The Testaments </em>(2019). The research is primarily informed by Judith Butler and her various works on the subject of gender performativity. <em>The Handmaid’s Tale</em> novel’s Aunt Lydia performs the gender role of Gileadean Aunt. In the TV adaptation of the novel, Lydia continues her performance of the Aunt gender role, but audiences are also provided with a glimpse into Lydia’s pre-Gileadean gender performances. Finally, in <em>The Testaments</em>, Lydia performs multiple gender roles: that of the Aunt, as the other versions of her character do, and, in private, that of a woman who aims to restore Gileadean women’s freedom.</p> Jordyn Weiss Copyright (c) 2023 Jordyn Weiss Mon, 24 Apr 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Mapping Abjection: Dissecting Racial and Sexual Boundaries in Mark Gevisser’s Lost and Found in Johannesburg <p>This article details the deconstruction of social identity in Mark Gevisser’s memoir <em>Lost and Found in Johannesburg</em>. It does so by emphasising how the city’s design reflects racial and sexual segregation through the construction of borders and boundaries that are nonetheless nebulous and artificial. In Gevisser’s memoir, his recollections are interspersed with the narratives of other marginalised individuals and groups. I employ Julia Kristeva’s theory of abjection to understand how systems of exclusion function not only to exclude, but paradoxically, how they allow spaces of inclusion. I argue that the apartheid city can be read as a social body that can be analysed in a similar manner to how the individual subject distinguishes itself from others. The social body therefore creates subjective boundaries between racialised and sexualised others to maintain its sense of autonomy.</p> Christopher Wayne Koekemoer Copyright (c) 2023 Christopher Wayne Koekemoer Thu, 15 Jun 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Poetics of the Medial State of Emily Dickinson’s Persona <p>Emily Dickinson, the famous 19th-century American poet with a passion for books, botany, and gardens, spent most of her life secluded in her bedroom, where she wrote some 1,800 poems, published only posthumously. Within four walls, the poet built an imaginary bridge between the real and the unreal. One of the most important characteristics relating to the poet is the unwitting creation of an immanent authorial mythology. This article is an analysis-reflection on the poet’s work, her artistic expression, and autofiction. The aim is to highlight the concept of boundary and medial state of the lyrical persona. A linguistic analysis of lexical and semantic syntagms of the poet’s works is carried out. The conceptual images of poetics, conveying the receptive potential of the poet’s worldview, are determined. Consideration of the use of stylistic forms of the poetic narrative was revealed as a priority for media-oriented analysis.</p> Yinping Wang Copyright (c) 2023 Yinping Wang Mon, 10 Jul 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Reflections of Tartarin of Tarascon in Araba Sevdası in the Context of Impressionism <p><em>Araba Sevdası</em>, written by Recaizade Mahmut Ekrem and one of the most important novels in Ottoman-Turkish literature, criticises the “European snob type” who despises his own culture and desires everything Western. Based on Alphonse Daudet’s impressions of his trip to Algeria in 1861, <em>Tartarin of Tarascon</em> criticises the “Provencal type of Southern France” who is overly fond of the exotic and looks quite comical in Eastern clothes. Both Daudet’s and Ekrem’s protagonists are alienated from their own identities and are caricatured with their incompatible, ridiculous, and exaggerated aspects. Ekrem himself states that these two texts, which have parallel aspects, are similar to each other, especially in terms of <em>style</em>. This article argues that the stylistic similarities between the two texts are based on the methods and techniques of impressionist painters and that Ekrem exemplifies Daudet’s impressionist style.</p> Esra Sazyek Copyright (c) 2023 Esra Sazyek Thu, 13 Jul 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Negotiations of Anxiety in the Discourses of Melanie Klein and Edgar Allan Poe <p>In my discussion of a selection of Poe’s tales, I intend to reveal the latent Kleinian dynamics which abound in texts that pivot on the dialectic between aggression and reparation: the narrative can be thought of as negotiating the representation of phantasies which are deployed to avoid intolerable anxiety, requiring most often than not a withdrawal from reality. The texts under analysis seem to play out with acute awareness the pain of fragmentation and disintegration and the ambivalent phantasies arising from the need to mitigate the pain of the internal situation. Poe’s characters’ traumatic encounters will foreground the struggle, fraught with ambivalence, to separate from and discern that which is other.</p> Daniela Cârstea Copyright (c) 2023 Daniela Cârstea Fri, 14 Jul 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Enjoying the Symptom: David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews with Hideous Men <p>This article investigates David Foster Wallace’s subversion of masculinity in <em>Brief Interviews with</em> <em>Hideous Men</em>. The loud and rambling monologues of the male characters embody instances of objectifying women, glorifying predatory sexuality, and equating masculinity with quick sexual gratification. The male characters, however, seem to be constantly plagued with the threatening presence of women. In the “Brief Interviews” sections of Wallace’s collection of stories, the paradoxes and inconsistencies of the male discourse reveal the symptoms of male neurosis connected with the repressed female, the most conspicuous evidence of which is the silenced figure of the female therapist/interviewer. Rendered through dark and subversive humour, the symptoms indicate the male anxieties related with the inability to represent women. Drawing on the central concepts of Lacan and Freud, I aim to show the ways in which Wallace undermines the hegemonic notions of masculinity through his subversive use of the symptom. I argue that Wallace’s portrayals of the interviewees’ enjoyment of the symptom underlies his subversive ridicule of the male attempts of sustaining the illusory pleasure. </p> Ferma Lekesizalin Copyright (c) 2023 Ferma Lekesizalin Tue, 01 Aug 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Apartheid’s Patriarchies in Decline: White Masculinities in Damon Galgut’s The Promise <p>The initial popular reception of Damon Galgut’s <em>The Promise </em>(2021) has overlooked issues of gender in the text, favouring instead the more narrow allegorical readings of race. In response to this, this article emphasises the novel’s engagement with the distinctly gendered nature of the transition from apartheid, focusing on the representation of white masculinities in the text. This article raises concerns about <em>how</em> these masculinities are depicted. Through close engagement with the text’s systematic introduction and disavowal of the constitutive forces of apartheid’s patriarchies—including fatherhood, Christianity, and the security state—this article argues that the novel’s engagement with white masculinities is one of negation; it offers a narrative mode in which white masculinities are rendered sterile, rewritten in the well-worn register of an anti-apartheid moral certitude that depends on tired tropes. While the novel attempts an important decentring of white masculinities, its outlook is ultimately bleak as white masculinities are shown to lack depth, resulting in their power in the present being curiously absented in an act of textual erasure.</p> Andy Carolin Copyright (c) 2023 Andy Carolin Tue, 01 Aug 2023 00:00:00 +0000 The Construction of Identities: Power Relations in Naomi Wallace’s In the Heart of America <p>This article explores how Naomi Wallace’s <em>In the Heart of America </em>demonstrates the interconnectedness of xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination in American life and politics. Through the critiques offered by Louis Althusser, Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, this article investigates the relationships between ideological state apparatuses, production of power and the construction of social identities. The subjugated characters in the play attempt to resist, negotiate and accommodate normative or regulative discursive processes that impose fixed identities upon them. Wallace’s play demonstrates that resistance constitutes power, which can be either weak, submissive, creative, and/or productive. Raising awareness of the possibilities of resistance to subjectifying power is what <em>In the Heart of America</em> yearns to do.</p> Ammar Abduh Aqeeli Copyright (c) 2023 Ammar Abduh Aqeeli Fri, 01 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Culpability and Nature-Nature Infractions in Select Poems in Tanure Ojaide’s Narrow Escapes: A Poetic Diary of the Coronavirus Pandemic <p>In literary imaginings, the infraction of the law by human and nonhuman agents manifests in different planes and character. With a pathology-inclined compass, this study argues that the representation of culpability for the infraction of natural law in Tanure Ojaide’s poetry emanates mainly from the intentionality of human agents and intersects with the unintentionality of nonhuman nature. In the instance of nature-nature infractions, a first-cause anthropocentric infraction by humans intersects with a second-cause infraction from the nonhuman agents, thereby creating the binary of intentional and unintentional culpability. Tanure Ojaide, in <em>Narrow Escape: A Poetic Diary of the Coronavirus Pandemic</em> (2021), chronicles the themes of agonies arising from anthropocentric recklessness and abuse of the ecosystem, which result in nature-nature infractions and the subsequent culpability. With poignant imagery and electrifying fluidity, Ojaide presents a litany of the havoc wreaked by human agents and the nonhuman coronavirus on the physical and biological environments. This litany is expressed through tones of lamentation and caution. The cautionary notes evince hope in the midst of the pathological miasma that assumed a threshold in 2019. Lawrence Buell’s eco-critical view is chosen because it locates anthropocentric negligence and ignorance as liable reasons for the breakdown of law and order in nature. Therefore, in causing the pandemic, sickness, and death, anthropocentrism as well as the coronavirus are shown to be culpable of homicide in the selected poems.</p> Gabriel Kosiso Okonkwo Copyright (c) 2023 Gabriel Kosiso Okonkwo Okonkwo Tue, 03 Oct 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Blackface on the South African Stage <p>In most contemporary studies in which the practice of blackface is discussed, it is seen as a controversial and racist practice. While many studies are available globally on different aspects of this practice (e.g., origin and history, the broad spectrum of media where it is used, different permutations and developments of this practice in various countries, etc.), one finds only a few studies focused on the use and practice of blackface in South African theatre studies. This is surprising when one considers the major role played by race in the general history of South Africa, as well as more specifically within the history of South African theatre. The focus in this article is on the practice and occurrence of blackface on the South African English stage from a historical theatre viewpoint as framed within a postcolonial perspective of this topic. Although one can assert that the practice of blackface was probably simply taken from the origin of this practice in the United States and mainly introduced to South Africa via travelling minstrel troupes from America and travelling theatre companies from the United Kingdom, it is important to see how this practice was received in colonial South Africa. The discussion will first address the use of this practice within early English theatre in South Africa as influenced by the blackface minstrelsy travelling troupes of the 19th century (1830s to 1870s), while the second part of the article will focus on the use of blackface by white actors on the South African stage to portray black characters in the early 20th century (1910 to 1930s).</p> Marisa Keuris Copyright (c) 2023 Marisa Keuris Mon, 16 Oct 2023 00:00:00 +0000 The Typewriter’s Tale: Re-Exploring the Historical Figure of Henry James through Fiction <p>This article investigates the relationship between historical fiction, history, and the portrayal of the character and identity of Henry James with specific reference to <em>The Typewriter’s Tale</em> (2005) by Michiel Heyns. Furthermore, it explores how Heyns proceeds to strike a historically responsible balance in his portrayal of the identities of Henry James, Morton Fullerton and Edith Wharton as characters in the novel and the identities of these personae as historical figures. It also explores how Heyns imaginatively bridges the gaps in the historical record or relies on creative licence to reinterpret events and characters. Lastly, the contribution that historical fiction can make to our understanding of the identity and character of historical figures is considered.</p> Albertus Breytenbach Copyright (c) 2023 Albertus Breytenbach Thu, 19 Oct 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Unveiling Neocolonialism in Sino-African Relations <p>This article examines the artistic and political implications of Femi Osofisan’s <em>All for Catherine</em>, an adaptation of Cao Yu’s play <em>Thunderstorm</em>. Although the dialogue remains largely faithful to the original, the characters, settings, and historical contexts are artfully shifted to the Nigerian cultural context. The original play by Cao Yu primarily offers a profound critique of capitalist society, a sentiment Osofisan carries forward in his adaptation. By analysing the play’s postcolonial narrative and its portrayal of China’s image, this article provides a literary and textual analysis of African perspectives on Sino-African relations. While China may intend to play a supportive role in Africa, extending its influence and contributing to economic growth, Osofisan’s adaptation suggests a more nuanced perspective. It raises concerns about the potential for neocolonialism, where China’s investments might sometimes prioritise its own interests over the genuine development of African nations.</p> Xunqian Liu Copyright (c) 2023 Xunqian Liu Mon, 20 Nov 2023 00:00:00 +0000 “Their Skin Is Black” <p>This article examines <em>Go Went Gone </em>(2015), an award-winning novel by the German writer Jenny Erpenbeck on the plight of African refugees in Berlin in the context of what has been called the European refugee/migrant “crisis.” I interrogate the preponderance of the imagery of racial difference especially at the beginning of the story and explore the narrative roles given to the novel’s main protagonist, Richard, as the story’s main focaliser through which the reader is given access into the minds of the novel’s German characters. Adopting a mostly postcolonial approach, I argue that the narrative reveals the continuing impact of the colonial archive on the European social imagination despite attempts to transcend those problematic imaginaries over the past decades. I also show that although apparently committed to dismantling familiar stereotypes and clichés, Erpenbeck struggles with a larger conundrum related to the dialectic of representation and misrepresentation and the question of how to call up and critique prejudices and problematic ideas without automatically re-inscribing them.</p> Aghogho Akpome Copyright (c) 2023 Aghogho Akpome Tue, 21 Nov 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Monstrous Bodies as Cultural Text <p>Monstrous bodies are culturally coded, reflecting the anxieties, expectations, fears, and desires of the culture within which they are produced. This article seeks to study monstrous corporeality in an attempt to understand the interface between culture and monsters by looking at the Greek mythical monsters as represented in Natalie Haynes’s novel <em>Stone Blind</em> (2022). By examining the embodied difference as well as the grotesque and the abject that inhabit the liminal space, we explore the corporeal otherness of monsters, the cultural cues entrenched in their non-normative bodies and their discursivity. The study, probing into the liminal nature of monstrous bodies that resist categorisation, seeks to highlight the subversive potential that deviant bodies offer and how Haynes seizes this opportunity to challenge the human penchant to monsterise difference for a re-evaluation of the cultural construction of monstrous bodies.</p> Aarcha, Dr K. Reshmi Copyright (c) 2023 Aarcha, Dr K. Reshmi Tue, 21 Nov 2023 00:00:00 +0000