Double Vision

This project will be a work of creative non-fiction, exploring issues of identity, boundaries, and vision that have been of concern for many years to a scholar who has been both literary critic and biographer. These issues emerge strongly from the South African experience, but the departure here is that instead of approaching them in the lives and/or work of others as the author has done before, they will be examined from the perspective of his own life—both growing up in South Africa and in his travels and relocations afterwards. In particular, the writer will explore the implications of a birthmark under his right eye which set him apart and came to affect his vision. In this way, though there is no straightforward symmetry, there are wider resonances for a country where markings created both identities and boundaries and profoundly affected ways of seeing. The project also has resonances for a country developing new visions in and through the markings of its birth.

Project leader(s):
  • Stephen Clingman (Massachusetts)