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  • A History of South African Literature: Afrikaans Literature Part two: The Period of Emancipation
  • J. Koch
  • ISBN: 9780627039287
  • eISBN: N/A
  • ePub ISBN: 9780627039294
  • 528 Pages | Published: 2022

Koch’s A History of South African Literature: Afrikaans Literature, Part 2 is an extensive and thorough study of the development of Afrikaans literature during the first three decades of the 20th century. It follows Part 1, in which the earlier origins of Afrikaans and Afrikaans literature as well as the local Dutch writings tradition were discussed. Koch uses the metaphor of mapping to describe the work of the historiographer, and it becomes clear that his study analyses the literary texts within the context of space and time. Accordingly, it includes information on the authors’ lives and times as well as the developments in Afrikaans literature, criticism and literary historiography.

The exposition starts with the origin and development of the Afrikaans language during the so-called ‘Second Language Movement’. Koch also describes the polemics between historians emphasising the ‘spontaneous development’ of Afrikaans from Dutch and those regarding it as a creole language; his balanced conclusion is that neither of the two groups can lay absolute claim to the truth.

The interest of the book is heightened by the inclusion of texts written in Dutch, as Koch discussed in Part 1, and also works which are not ‘literary’ in the strict sense of the word, like war diaries. These are discussed not primarily for their literary value but for the insights they provide into the effect of the Anglo-Boer War on the formation of Afrikaner identity. It confirms that this literary history does not isolate the development of Afrikaans literature from the development of Afrikaner ideology and identity.

This is followed by the two main parts of the study: a discussion of the literary works of the ‘first generation’ (Celliers, Totius and Leipoldt) and those of the ‘writers of the twenties’ (Toon van den Heever, A G Visser, C J Langenhoven and Eugène Marais). 

Jerzy Koch is professor in the Department of Dutch and South African Studies, Faculty of English, at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, research fellow at the Free State University, Bloemfontein, and extraordinary professor at Stellenbosch University. He is an acclaimed translator of Dutch and Afrikaans literature into Polish and has published widely on Dutch and post-colonial literature.

PART ONE
THE SPACE OF SOUTH AFRICAN LITERATURE

I.1. The Concept of The History of South African Literature
I.2. South African Space and Mapping the History of Literature
I.3. Redrawing the Map
I.4. Temporal Clarifications
I.5. The Theory of the Accelerated Development of Literature
I.6. The Linguistic Perspective (Afrikaans vs. Dutch vs. English)
I.6.1. The Cultural, Economic, and Racial Context of the Linguistic Situation in the Early 20th Century
I.6.2. Language in Education and Free Christian National Education
I.6.3. Language in Education and Fee Christian National Education
I.6.4. The Anglicization Campaign and the Dutch Reaction (Simplified Dutch Spelling)
I.6.5. The Emancipation of Afrikaans. Dutch vs. Afrikaans

PART TWO
THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF AFRIKAANS

II.1. Introduction
II.2. Preliminary Remarks
II.3. Travellers’ Observations and First Pre-scientific Opinions on Afrikaans
II.4. The Origin of Afrikaans: Academic Discussions and Polemics
II.5. Theories: A Typology
II.6. Conclusions

PART THREE
BETWEEN EXEGESIS AND ECSTASY, OR THE LITERARY WORK AND ITS EVALUATION: WAYS OF APPROACHING THE HISTORICAL LITERARY PROCESS IN AFRIKAANS LITERATURE

III.1. Literary Criticism and Literary Historiography in Afrikaans: An Intro­duction
III.2. Gerrit Dekker
III.3. P.J. Nienaber
III.4. P.C. Schoonees
III.5. F.E.J. Malherbe
III.6. Rob Antonissen
III.7. J.C. Kannemeyer

PART FOUR
MEMORY, HISTORY, MYTHS

IV.1. Diaristic Writings from the Years 1899–1902 and Memorialistic Litera­ture of the Anglo-Boer War
IV.2. Farmer, Legislator, General, and Hero – Christiaan Rudolph de Wet
IV.3. The Memoirs of a Rebel: Japie Neser
IV.4. “I am here in the best school in the world”: A Poet in a War. The Case of Jan F.E. Celliers
IV.5. “War is terrible!”: The Battlefield Diary of Totius (J.D. du Toit)

PART FIVE
THE FIRST POST-WAR GENERATION

V.1. The First-Generation Poets: The Two, Triumvirate, the Big Four or the Big Five? On the Literary Generation in Afrikaans Literature (I)
V.2. “This is our life expressed in our language” or Jan F.E. Celliers
V.3. Calvin’s Faith and Afrikaner’s Faith – the Work of Totius (Jacob Daniel du Toit)
V.4. Louis Leipoldt: The Apostle of the Opposite View

PART SIX
THE WRITERS OF THE 1920s

VI.1. The Poets of the Second Generation, Twintigers or Perhaps Just Poetae Africani Minores? On the Literary Generation in Afrikaans Literature (II)
VI.2. About the Man Who “had no Quarrel with the Universe” – C.J. Langen­hoven and His Emancipatory Work for Afrikaans
VI.3. A Troubadour and His Rose or Medieval and Renaissance Traditions in Afrikaans. The Paradoxes of A.G. Visser’s Work
VI.4. Toon van den Heever: A Breach in Afrikaner Aesthetics and IdeologyVI.5. Eugène N. Marais – The Man, His Story and His Legend

Important Dates in the History of South Africa from the Anglo-Boer War to the 1930s

Summary

Selected Bibliography of Books

Index of Names

“This book makes a substantial contribution to South African Literature.”

Prof. Craig MacKenzie, formerly professor of English at the University of Johannesburg

“Koch is an erudite scholar. The discussions of the works of the authors are full of insight, and the descriptions of their lives are often quite moving. I especially appreciated the author’s empathy with these older writers, who often harboured ideas which are not acceptable anymore – there are no easy condemnations from a later perspective. The manuscript is also written in a fluent, readable style.”

Prof. Chris van der Merwe, University of Cape Town 

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