Reinstating the “Literary” in South African Literary Studie

South African literary studies has, in a sense, lost its intellectual project. The post-apartheid literary scene is flourishing, but the scholarship is falling behind. There are various reasons for this, for example, since at least the mid-80s, it appears that South African literary criticism, partly under the influence of Marxism and post-structuralism, has retreated from the literary and more broadly the aesthetic, which – in the absence of a compelling social subject like apartheid or colonialism – leaves it singularly unable to deal with the complexities of a context in which literature as literature is flourishing. This project will investigate what it might mean to reinstate the literary, to reconstitute the discipline in a way which might be more appropriate to its rebellious, challenging and captivating subject.

Project leader(s):
  • Duncan Brown (Western Cape)

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