African Studies André Brink
by
Isidore Diala
  • LAST MODIFIED: 24 May 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846733-0186

Introduction

André Philippus Brink (b. 1935—d. 2015) is acclaimed as one of South Africa’s foremost writers. Internationally renowned novelist, playwright, scholar, critic, translator, travel writer, and editor, Brink was prolific and his oeuvre monumental: some twenty-six novels, many of them translated into thirty-five languages, more than fourteen original plays, in addition to adaptations and translations, travelogue, and volumes of scholarly and critical materials. His reputation is equally peerless as an internationally celebrated commentator on the aberrations and enormities of the apartheid state. Born the eldest child of a magistrate father and schoolteacher mother in Vrede in the Orange Free State on 29 May 1935, Brink graduated from the Calvinist Potchefstroom University in South Africa, where he earned an MA in Afrikaans in 1958, and another MA in English in 1959. His postgraduate studies in comparative literature at the Sorbonne, University of Paris, between 1959 and 1961, and his experience of greater personal freedom in France, away from his typically conservative Afrikaner clan, transformed his writing and his outlook on life. Brink, who emerged as a writer as a prominent member of the Sestigers—writers of the 60s—came under the influence of trends in metropolitan European literature in France. However, the political turning point in Brink’s writing career was 1974: his novel Kennis van die Aand (1973) became the first Afrikaans work to be banned in South Africa. Brink’s consequent translation of the novel into English and his discovery of an international audience began a fascinating tradition of part self-translation and part self-rewriting that became a feature of virtually his entire oeuvre thenceforth. It also accounted for the twofold fixation of his writing: his abiding concern with South African history and politics and the existential human situation. Persecuted by the apartheid establishment, and vilified by nationalist Afrikaner intellectuals, Brink was nonetheless a recipient of many literary prizes, local and international: Reina Prinsen Geerlings Prize, 1964; Central News Agency award for English literature, for Rumours of Rain, 1978; Martin Luther King Memorial Prize and Prix Medicis Etranger, both in 1980, for A Dry White Season. He was nominated several times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Brink’s dynamism as a commentator on the South African state is highlighted by his sensitivity to the historical mutations of the enclave, necessitating a gamut of aesthetic responses whose trajectory is a movement from social realism to postmodernism. Brink apparently suffered an aneurism on 6 February 2015 over Brazzaville on a flight from Europe to South Africa, doubtlessly an emblematic way to die for a writer who visualized his entire life as a symbolic crossing of frontiers and saw the negotiation of the cultural and intellectual distance between Europe and Africa as the core of his life-long endeavor (Elnadi and Rifaat 1993, cited under Interviews). This article seeks to chart a critical pathway to an understanding of Brink’s scholarly heritage by identifying and illuminating representative and signal sources.

General Overviews

Compared with Nadine Gordimer and J. M. Coetzee, with whom he is usually ranked as South Africa’s preeminent writers, Brink has attracted much less scholarship. There is as yet neither a full-length monograph devoted entirely to his work nor a biography on him. There are only two special issues of journals devoted to Brink’s writing—one in Afrikaans and the other bilingual, Afrikaans and English—and only two volumes of edited essays—Senekal 1988 and Burger and Szczurek 2013 (both cited under Essay Collections)—the earlier exclusively in Afrikaans, and the later, a critical anthology of selected previously published articles in English and Afrikaans, issued only recently. Reference book entries thus remain crucial for general overviews of Brink’s writing. Ross 1982 provides an outline of Brink’s writing until A Chain of Voices (in the novel genre) and insightful interview excerpts that highlight each novel’s background. Findlay 1984, a paper presented at the Second Nordic Conference for English Studies in 1983, provides a methodical review of Brink’s fiction up to A Chain of Voices. (Its place of presentation, incidentally, underscores the cultural component of Nordic participation in the anti-apartheid struggle.) De Kock 1986 offers a chastened overview of Brink’s work up to The Wall of the Plague. Hassall 1991 gives an illuminating account of Brink’s background and education as well as engaging reviews of his prose oeuvre up to States of Emergency. There have also been at least two high-quality comparative book-length studies of Brink and his fellow South African writers, the Nobel laureate, J. M. Coetzee, and Breyten Breytenbach: Jolly 1996 and Kossew 1996 (both cited under Comparative Studies). Kossew’s discussion of the novels, from Looking on Darkness to On the Contrary, makes it a crucial reading for every Brink scholar, and her detailed examination of the implication of a postcolonial reading of Brink’s work is invaluable introductory material on postcolonial theory. Burger and Szczurek 2013 is arguably the leading critical book source on Brink’s work and Meintjes’s contribution to the volume (Meintjes 2013), first published in 1996 but updated in 1998 and 2009, is arguably the most detailed overview of Brink’s work yet published.

  • Findlay, Allan. “André Brink and the Challenge from within South Africa.” In Proceedings from the Second Nordic Conference for English. Edited by Hakan Ringbom and Matti Rissananen, 581–590. Åbo, Finland: Abo Akademi Foundation, 1984.

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    An insightful chronological overview of Brink’s fiction up to A Chain of Voices, carefully outlining Brink’s abiding themes and style, and stressing his explicit political purpose and the presiding topicality of his work. Findlay nonetheless emphasizes the imaginative component of Brink’s engagement with South African history and politics.

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    • Hassall, Anthony J. “André Brink.” In International Literature in English. Edited by Robert L. Ross, 181–192. Chicago: St James, 1991.

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      A very informed overview of Brink’s life and work up to States of Emergency. It underscores the impact on Brink’s writing of his encounter with modern European literature in Paris and includes a useful annotated bibliography of the representative scholarship on Brink up to the time of its publication.

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      • Kock, Leon de. “Brink, André (Philipus).” In Contemporary Novelists. Edited by D. K. Kirkpatrick, 133–136. London: St. James, 1986.

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        Provides insightful biographical data of Brink as well as a sober appraisal of his career as a novelist up to The Wall of the Plague. Its highlight is a comprehensive list of all Brink’s writings including his novels, short story collections, plays, children’s and travel writings, critical work, and translations until 1985.

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        • Kossew, Sue. “Brink, André Philippus.” In Encyclopedia of African Literature. Edited by Simon Gikandi, 79–82. London and New York: Routledge, 2003.

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          A lucid account of Brink’s background that traces his political as well as the existentialist content of his writing to his sojourning in France for postgraduate studies. Kossew’s discussion of the novels up to Rights of Desire emphasizes their political context and shows Brink’s fixation with the interface between history and fiction/myth in his later writing.

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          • Meintjes, Godfrey. “André Brink’s Prose Oeuvre: An Overview.” In Contrary: Critical Responses to the Novels of André Brink. Edited by Willie Burger and Magdalena Szczurek, 37–95. Pretoria, South Africa: Protea Book House, 2013.

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            Provides what is arguably the most detailed and insightful overview of Brink’s prose oeuvre, beginning from his earliest Afrikaans novel, Die meul teen die hang (1958), to his twenty-third, Praying Mantis (2005). This version combines three versions published between 1996 and 2009, notes important influences, and identifies four signal phases. Essential reading.

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            • Obumselu, Ben. “André Brink: A Historian of the South African Liberation.” African Commentary: A Journal of People of African Descent (1990): 56–58.

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              Particularly perceptive review of the novels from An Instant in the Wind to A Chain of Voices. It locates Brink’s fiction not only in contemporary South African history and politics but also in the longer history of the human struggle for freedom and the history of the novel itself.

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              • Ross, Jean W. “André Brink.” In Contemporary Authors. Vol. 104. Edited by Frances C. Locher, 54–59. Detroit: Gale, 1982.

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                Provides an outline of Brink’s career up to A Chain of Voices and highlights his other kinds of writing. The highlights are excerpts of a very revealing interview, offering insightful backgrounds to the novels.

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                • Willemse, Hein. “André P. Brink se bevrydende woord en dissidensie.” Tydskrif vir Letterkunde 52.2 (2015): 210–214.

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                  A brief but insightful paper offered as an obituary on Brink’s death, tracing the development of his “liberating word and dissidence” from his early experimental novels to his consciously political works. Comments on his exploration of local landscapes, reinterpretations of history in his historical novels, and importance as an Afrikaner dissident. Afrikaans text.

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                  Essay Collections

                  There are two essay collections devoted to Brink’s work. The earlier one, Senekal 1988, is a collection of thirteen essays by Afrikaans scholars and is predominately focused on Brink’s fiction, though with some references to his critical writing and drama. The second, Burger and Szczurek 2013, was specifically aimed at providing a second long overdue book-length study of Brink, and is primarily dedicated to his most significant oeuvre, his fiction. Far ranging in its scope, it is a compilation of twenty previously published articles on Brink, from 1987 to 2009 and represents the work of some of Brink’s most distinguished and engaging critics.

                  • Burger, Willie, and Magdalena Szczurek, eds. Contrary: Critical Responses to the Novels of André Brink. Pretoria, South Africa: Protea Book House, 2013.

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                    Certainly the foremost work on Brink, this anthology of twenty articles, ten in English and ten in Afrikaans, ranges all through Brink’s concerns. The introduction examines Brink’s critical heritage; Wroe provides an excellent profile of Brink; and Meintjes an absorbing overview of almost all Brink’s fiction. Essential reading.

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                    • Senekal, Jan, ed. Donker weerlig. Literêre opstelle oor die werk van André P. Brink. Kenwyn, South Africa: Jutalit, 1988.

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                      A collection of thirteen essays in Afrikaans informed by narratology, structuralism, poststructuralism and reception, and readers’ response theory on Brink’s major novels since the 1960s. In addition, Brink’s pivotal position as a committed writer, critic, reformer, resister, and thinker within Afrikaans literary studies and South African society is explored.

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                      Special Journal Editions

                      There have been two special issues of journals dedicated to Brink’s work: Stilet (2002) and Tydskrif vir Letterkunde (2005). The former drew on proceedings of a seminar devoted to Brink’s work at the Bloemfontein Arts Festival in 2002 and the latter commemorated Brink’s seventieth birthday anniversary in 2005; the former is altogether in Afrikaans, the latter is bilingual, partly in English and partly in Afrikaans; the former, though primarily on Brink’s fiction, contains an article on his drama; the latter is focused on Brink’s prose oeuvre.

                      • Stilet 14.2 (2002).

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                        Comprises nine Afrikaans articles on the writing of Brink, particularly The Rights of Desire, Devil’s Valley, and his slave novels with reference to his exploration of the discourse of sexuality, rhetoric, the metaphor of space, notions of identity, and intertextual connections with Coetzee’s Disgrace. Jaarsveld’s article on Brink’s drama is essential reading for anyone examining his plays.

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                        • Tydskrif vir Letterkunde 42.1 (2005).

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                          This journal issue commemorating Brink’s seventieth birthday discusses his novels up to Before I Forget. It contains ten articles on Brink’s work, five in English and five in Afrikaans with an interview Brink granted to Louise Viljoen in Afrikaans. The topics examined include representation, narration, feminist discourse, and the congruence between Brink’s aesthetics and his political themes.

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                          Databases

                          Where there are innumerable online sites that refer to Brink and his work, there is hardly any comprehensive website devoted entirely to him. The Contemporary Authors Online entry on Brink provides substantial details, and Karina Brink’s blog has bits of various interesting details.

                          • “André Brink.” In Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2015.

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                            An invaluable database with an inventory of Brink’s work divided into the various genres, personal information and career details, awards, selections of reviews and commentary, excerpts of an insightful interview, and an uneven reading list. Available online by subscription.

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                            • André Brink | Karina Magdalena.

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                              Kept by Brink’s wife, Karina Brink, this blog offers sundry interesting facts about Brink, his photographs, his writing including early work, life, and times. It has various posts of articles and journal entries related to Brink, and also information about other South African writers, scholars, and statesmen including Nelson Mandela.

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                              Criticism

                              This article divides the considerable material that could be included under this heading into three broad categories: studies that trace possible literary influences on Brink’s work; those that compare his work with those of other writers, and those that focus on his style and narrative techniques.

                              Literary Influences

                              Denouncing identification with any particular school, Brink called his taste in literature catholic but noted nonetheless that the “most abiding influence on his work” could be traced to Camus, and an “element of mysticism derived from the Spanish writers of the seventeenth century” (Ross 1982, p. 55, cited under General Overviews). Repeatedly, in interviews and critical essays, he acknowledged the impact of existentialism, especially Camus, on his work. Obumselu 1990 briefly but powerfully draws attention to Brink’s existentialist background, and identifies Tolstoy as an influence on Brink’s mode of depicting history. Diala 2006 investigates in close detail Obumselu’s insights on the underexplored influence of Malraux on Brink’s Rumours of Rain. Hassall 1991 notes the use of Shakespeare as a framing device in Looking on Darkness (cited under General Overviews). In his tragic contemplation of the human condition, Brink recurrently invoked Shakespeare and was tireless in citing, appropriating, and reworking all over his oeuvre Shakespeare’s description of the human in King Lear as a “forked animal” as an enthralling insight into the human estate. Peck 1992 equally highlights and explores Brink’s indebtedness to French existentialism. Pieterse 1990, Van der Merwe 1994 (cited under the Ambassador (1967)) and Meintjes 2013 (cited under the Ambassador (1967)) discuss the influence of Dante’s Divina Commedia on The Ambassador. Diala 2000 examines another presiding influence on Brink’s work, the Bible, by investigating Brink’s debunking of typical apartheid annexation of the Bible to justify a racist ideology. Mishan 2008 considers Frantz Kafka an influence on Brink’s later fiction. While apartheid endured, a feature of many of these studies is the examination of the impact of these (acknowledged) models on Brink’s professed political affiliation.

                              • Diala, Isidore. “Biblical Mythology in André Brink’s Anti-Apartheid Crusade.” Research in African Literatures 31.1 (2000): 80–94.

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                                Examines the apartheid establishment’s appropriation of the Bible as a doctrinal nationalistic mythology of Afrikanerdom as the “second Israel” to justify its institutionalization of a racist ideology. Brink’s interpretation of Afrikaner history on the other hand highlights his counter-hegemonic reading of the Biblical messianic legend and of the hagiography of Christian saints.

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                                • Diala, Isidore. “André Brink and Malraux.” Contemporary Literature 47.1 (2006): 91–113.

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                                  Examines the demonstrable influence of André Malraux’s La Condition Humaine on Brink’s Rumours of Rain. In corresponding themes and characterization, Diala shows Brink’s indebtedness to Malraux and highlights how Brink’s allegiance to Malraux’s humanist universals vitiated his local political engagements in South Africa, his adaptation of Malraux to his own context notwithstanding.

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                                  • Mishan, Ligaya. “Apartheid of the Mind.” Sunday Book Review (7 September 2008). The New York Times.

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                                    Reviewing Other Lives, Mishan notes Brink’s movement from the realist to the phantasmagorical mode. Appraises the work as a “collection of surreal fables,” and identifies the moment in which the white protagonist in the second novella, Mirror, is transformed into a black as his “Gregor Samsa moment,” thus underscoring the influence of Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis.”

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                                    • Obumselu, Ben. “André Brink: A Historian of the South African Liberation.” African Commentary: A Journal of People of African Descent (1990): 56–58.

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                                      Brief but insightful historical contextualization of Brink’s work, and authoritative delineation of Brink’s intellectual background and artistic influences. Obumselu discerns the general impact of existentialist philosophy and Tolstoyan fiction, and considers André Schwartz-Bart’s Le Dernier des justes (1959) and André Malraux’s La Condition Humaine (1933) demonstrable models of Brink’s Rumours of Rain.

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                                      • Peck, Richard. “Condemned to Choose, but What? Existentialism in Selected Works by Fugard, Brink and Gordimer.” Research in African Literatures 23.3 (1992): 67–84.

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                                        Examines existentialist influences, especially Albert Camus, on Brink’s The Wall of the Plague as well as selected works by Fugard and Gordimer. Peck considers historical correspondences between apartheid South Africa and post-World War II Europe more important than biographical explanations to account for the attraction to existentialism in both societies.

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                                        • Pieterse, H. J. “Die Purgatorio-allusies in Die ambassadeur.” Stilet 2.1 (1990): 131–140.

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                                          Observing that examinations of the influence of Dante’s Divina Commedia on The Ambassador usually refer to Inferno and Paradiso, ignoring Purgatorio, Pieterse explores allusions in the novel to Purgatorio. Following a brief summary of Dante’s Purgatory, several instances of the protagonist’s spiritual growth under the guidance of the Beatrice-like figure, Nicolette, and the secularization of Dante are underscored. Afrikaans text.

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                                          Comparative Studies

                                          A substantial part of the critical corpus on Brink is significantly comparative (See Themes and Criticism on Individual Works.) Brink’s work has repeatedly been compared with the work of compatriot South African writers such as Alan Paton, Nadine Gordimer, J. M. Coetzee, Breyten Breytenbach, and Zakes Mda; with Nigerian writers such as Amos Tutuola and Ben Okri; with the Australian writers Patrick White and Peter Carey; with South American writers such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende, and so on. Brink’s passionate anti-apartheid/colonial sentiment is often the focal point of comparative discussions with other writers as are his techniques or modes of exploring his favorite and recurring themes. Remarkable for its critical quality and, arguably, for being the earliest influential comparative study of Brink, Hassall 1987 explores colonial myth-making in Brink and the Australian novelist Patrick White. Macaskill 1990 compares Brink’s Rumours of Rain and Gordimer’s The Conservationist, which he argues was the model for the former, to rank their effectiveness in countering Afrikaner hegemony. Where for Jolly 1996 the inscriptions of violence in the work of Brink, Breyten Breytenbach, and J. M. Coetzee are the basis of an engaging comparative analysis, Kossew 1996 draws on postcolonial theory in her informed reading of Brink and Coetzee. Chait 2000 makes at least a twofold comparison between Brink’s The First Life of Adamastor and Nicol’s Horseman as reconstructions of the apartheid experience through mythological frameworks, and between The First Life of Adamastor and Camões’s The Lusiads on which he argues the former was modeled. The limit of mythology in comprehending the history of apartheid is Chait’s thesis. A long and absorbing probing of the place of Gordimer’s July’s People, Brink’s An Instant in the Wind and Coetzee’s Foe in the South African archive of fascinating historical and imaginative accounts of shipwrecks and castaways, Titlestad and Kissack 2007 sees the shipwreck and its symbolic tropes as ample plinth for “interrogating the ideological taxonomies and logic of colonialism” (p. 192). Petzold 2007 regards the Great Trek as a central myth-invoking experience in Afrikaner imagination and examines how Solomon Plaatje’s Mhudi, Peter Abraham’s Wild Conquest, and Brink’s Imaginings of Sand draw on it to contemplate prevailing political matters at the time of their publication. Holding the view that “space” and “place” influence the formation of identity, Wenzel focuses especially on “houses as symbols of origin and their association with history and identity” (p. 144) in the selected postcolonial South African and Latin American novels.

                                          • Chait, Sandra. “Mythology, Magic Realism, and White Writing after Apartheid.” Research in African Literatures 31.2 (2000): 17–28.

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                                            Compares Brink’s The First Life of Adamastor and Nicol’s Horseman as mythological reconstructions of the apartheid experience, while examining the former as a rewriting of Camões’s The Lusiads. She contends that mythology as a “second-order semiological system” exonerates white South Africans from the guilt of apartheid by “purifying the signifiers” and making them appear “innocent, normal, or universal” (p. 17).

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                                            • Hassall, A. J. “The Making of a Colonial Myth: The Mrs Fraser Story in Patrick White’s A Fringe of Leaves and André Brink’s An Instant in the Wind.” ARIEL 18.3 (1987): 3–28.

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                                              An absolutely absorbing examination of the fictionalization of the Mrs Fraser narrative of captivity and rescue (which Hassall traces to Nolan’s paintings) by the Australian writer Patrick White and Brink. One of the most compelling earliest interventions in the scholarship on Brink. Reprinted in Burger and Szczurek 2013 (cited under Essay Collections), pp. 159–190. Essential reading.

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                                              • Jolly, Jane Rosemary. Colonization, Violence, and Narration in White South African Writing: André Brink, Breyten Breytenbach and J. M. Coetzee. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1996.

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                                                A particularly critically insightful appraisal of the ethical and aesthetic imperatives of Brink’s fictional and critical work in relation to the works of Coetzee and Breytenbach. Investigating not only the congruence between Brink’s theory and practice but also of his professed political affiliations and literary prerogatives, Jolly focuses on his depictions of violence.

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                                                • Kossew, Sue. Pen and Power: A Post-Colonial Reading of J. M. Coetzee and André Brink. Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi, 1996.

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                                                  This book’s comparative theoretical framework is structurally enhanced by its organization into seven central chapters actually devoted to comparisons between Brink’s and Coetzee’s fiction. One chapter examines two novels by Brink. Noting Brink’s greater social realism and Coetzee’s primary self-reflexivity, Kossew subjects both writers to a convincing postcolonial examination.

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                                                  • Macaskill, Brian. “Interrupting the Hegemonic: Textual Critique and Mythological Recuperation from the White Margins of South African Writing.” Novel: A Forum for Fiction (1990): 156–181.

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                                                    Considers Rumours of Rain modeled on Gordimer’s The Conservationist. Macaskill privileges the ideological impact of both writers’ stylistic use of internal primarily non-fictional interruptions in the narrative. He appraises Rumours of Rain not as counter-hegemonic, like The Conservationist, but as an “alternate version” of the hegemony Brink ostensibly debunks.

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                                                    • Petzold, Jochen. “‘Translating’ the Great Trek to the Twentieth Century: Re-interpretations of the Afrikaner Myth in Three South African Novels.” English in Africa 43.1 (2007): 115–131.

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                                                      Appraises the use that Mhudi, Wild Conquest, and Imaginings of Sand make of the Great Trek to reflect on prevailing political issues at the time of their publication. Imaginings of Sand, Petzold argues, deconstructs a hegemonic concept of Afrikaner identity linked to that cardinal myth, substituting it with a new concept of South African identity. Reprinted in Burger and Szczurek 2013, pp. 201–224.

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                                                      • Titlestad, Michael, and Mike Kissack. “The Persistent Castaway in South African Writing.” Postcolonial Studies 10.2 (2007): 191–218.

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                                                        Investigates the place of Gordimer’s July’s People, Brink’s An Instant in the Wind, and Coetzee’s Foe in the archive of South African shipwrecks and castaways going back to the Grosvenor. This compelling article examines the relation of this trope to South African political ontology and shows how each text subverts imperial hubris.

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                                                        • Wenzel, Marita. “Houses, Cellars and Caves in Selected Novels from Latin America and South Africa.” In Literary Landscapes: From Modernism to Postcolonialism. Edited by Attie De Lange, et al., 143–160. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

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                                                          Traces the fixation with architecture in postcolonial fiction to the signal place of houses in identity formation. Noting the condemnation of slaves and women to cellars and caves and the hidden histories they typify, Wenzel stresses the postcolonial insight shared by Brink and the other writers studied to reconstruct history in light of this irrepressible “otherness” of memories.

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                                                          Narrative Modes: Postmodernist or Postcolonialist Narrative Strategies?

                                                          Brink’s writing career spanned well over five decades, from the 1950s to the time of his death in 2015. And while he strove to transform the history and politics of his country, he equally responded by the modulation of his own aesthetics to its changing political and social landscape. Beginning in his Afrikaans fiction with Eurocentric modernist experimentation in the era of the Sestigers, Brink swiftly adopted social realism as a response to the apartheid dispensation while always exalting modes that ensured a writer’s imaginative grasp of reality. As the cast iron phase of apartheid waned, Brink explored varying narrative modes, ranging from mythology, through postmodernism, to magical realism. Absolving postmodernism of the usual criticism of self-indulgence and lack of moral commitment through a withdrawal into mere textuality, Brink contends that it is instead by perceiving the world as a story, unfinished and in a continuing state of construction, that a reader is actually encouraged to act upon the world. He avers in Reinventing a Continent that as nothing is fixed or final, and given that life itself and its legion of activities are narrations, that is, invented stories, the writer confronts the reader with the responsibility to choose through the generation of a polylogue of versions of reality (Brink 1996b, cited under Polemical and Scholarly Writing). This dynamism of Brink’s novelistic discourse as well as critical sensibilities is central in discussions of his narrative modes. Rich 1982 investigates the transformation of (white) South African writing including Brink’s from the realist mode to the modernist; Hassall 1987 (cited under Comparative Studies) is a ground-breaking exploration of Brink’s postcolonial mythmaking that continues to exert enormous influence on the scholarship on Brink. Viljoen 1995 appraises positively the sociopolitical relevance of Brink’s use of postmodernist narrative techniques. Kossew 1996 offers a sustained postcolonial reading of Brink’s fiction until 1993. In Petzold 2000 the political relevance of postmodernism is also examined while Lehmann 2005 pays attention to Brink’s changing sensibilities and modes.

                                                          • Kossew, Sue. Pen and Power: A Post-Colonial Reading of J. M. Coetzee and André Brink. Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi, 1996.

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                                                            Draws on postcolonial theory and Brink’s non-fictional writing and interviews to offer an engaging reading of his English language fiction up to On the Contrary. Equally examines the paradoxes and ambivalences of his speaking-position as a white South African writer. Kossew’s perceptive reading and invaluable introductory material on postcolonial theory make it crucial reading for every Brink scholar.

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                                                            • Lehmann, Elmar. “Brinkmanship: Storytellers and the Novelist.” Tydskrif vir Letterkunde 42.1 (2005): 31–41.

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                                                              Examines the centrality of “imagination” in Brink’s conception of “representation” and “narration,” linking this to his notion of literary discourse (opposed to pragmatic routine social discourse) as a carrier of “truth,” given its distinctive power of estrangement. Focuses on Brink’s changing conception of the narrative voice from realism to postmodernism guided by the changing history of South Africa itself.

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                                                              • Petzold, Jochen. “André Brink’s Magical Tour: Postmodern and Postcolonial Influences in The First Life of Adamastor.” English in Africa 27.2 (2000): 45–58.

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                                                                Assesses the impact of Brink’s simultaneous appropriation of postcolonial and postmodern strategies in his rewriting of Camões’s Lusiads as a narrative of the first encounter between Africa and Europe. By flaunting its own fictionality, Brink’s counter-history still rewrites colonial history from the margins by demanding moral evaluation.

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                                                                • Rich, Paul. “Tradition and Revolt in South African Fiction: The Novels of André Brink, Nadine Gordimer and J. M. Coetzee.” Journal of South African Studies 9.1 (1982): 54–73.

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                                                                  Appraises the achievements of Brink’s Rumours of Rain, Gordimer’s The Conservationist, and Coetzee’s In the Heart of the Country in the transformation of the dominant mode of South African fiction from realism to postmodernism. Considers Rumours still bound to the colonial tradition, and its treatment of the landscape reminiscent of the colonial pastoral tradition.

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                                                                  • Viljoen, Louise. “Re-writing History: André Brink’s An Act of Terror (1991) and On the Contrary (1993).” KOERS 60.4 (1995): 505–519.

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                                                                    Examines the influence of postmodernism on the historical South African novel, contending that Brink’s representation of history through a stable subject and metanarrative enhances effective political action in An Act and privileges traditional historiography. Nonetheless she avers that Brink’s postmodernist rewriting of history in On the Contrary demonstrates postmodernism’s commitment to social transformation.

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                                                                    Themes

                                                                    Brink noted to Contemporary Authors: “However close my work is to the realities of South Africa today, the political situation remains a starting point only for my attempts to explore the more abiding themes of human loneliness and man’s efforts to reach out and touch someone else. My stated conviction is that literature should never descend to the level of politics; it is rather a matter of elevating and refining politics so as to be worthy of literature”(Ross 1982, p. 55, cited under General Overviews). Writing in English clearly extended the frontiers on Brink’s constituency and strengthened his commitment to his international audience, and scholarship on Brink’s existentialist background privileges his gestures toward a global humanism. However, that scholarship, even when not overtly ideological, reveals in a special way the peculiar charge of the political in apartheid South Africa. Obumselu 1990 expresses Brink’s presiding theme of love in its apparently boundless scope: “All men are lovers and follow the Muse” (p. 58, cited under General Overviews); Hassall 1991 concurs but foregrounds the specific political provenance of Brink’s work: “Brink’s continuing theme has been the black man of Africa loving the white woman of Europe, rebelling against the tyranny of colonial rule, and being doubly punished for his presumption” (cited in General Overviews p. 189). Obumselu himself warns that the freedom fighter who accepts Brink’s message of self-giving “existentialist freedom” throws down his arms! (p. 57). The two broad preeminent clusters of thematic preoccupations around which most scholarly writings on Brink’s work constellate demonstrate the decisive impact of politics in the critical examination of Brink and other South African writers while apartheid endured. Concerns with giving a voice to the racial/female Other, and the varying forms of both symbolic and physical violence deployed to justify and perpetuate the Other’s servitude or the violence which the marginalized has recourse to in order to contest the condemnation to that inhuman status are invariably linked to the political.

                                                                    Representing the Subaltern: Race, Gender, and Positionality

                                                                    Brink appreciated as his central preoccupation as a South African writer the responsibility to give a voice to both the racial and female Other rendered voiceless by the apartheid establishment. He noted the collusion between racism and male chauvinism and traced an abiding concern of his fiction to that relationship rooted in the common experience of oppression. While most Brink scholars pay tribute to his impassioned advocacy of the cause of blacks and women marginalized and even dehumanized by the Afrikaner hegemony, that theme can be regarded as a given in Brink’s work. Thus, discussions of the implications of Brink’s transgression of both racial and gender boundaries proliferate in the scholarship on Brink. This is generally virtually inextricably linked with the critical question of assuming or finding an adequate and enabling speaking position in counter-hegemonic discourse to avoid the appropriations or violations critiqued. Coetzee 1990 raises this question with regard to Brink’s writing on his enduring grim battle with the censor. Kossew 1999, a theorization of the question with reference to white South African writing generally, draws on Coetzee’s insights. While Stander 1996 notes how, in debunking a stereotype of women, Brink only ends up creating another, Viljoen 2002 contends that Brink’s representation of slave and indigenous characters escapes complicity. Joseph-Vilain 2003 reads Brink’s representation of women’s incarnation of history in Imaginings of Sand positively and sees the novel not only as a “history of feminity” but even more importantly as a “history of feminine transmission” (p. 67). Kossew 2005 on the other hand discerns ambivalence in Brink’s representation of women but notes the writer’s awareness of the limits of his transgressive projects and his conscious striving to transcend them. Kauer 2007 discusses Brink’s strategic counter-memory aimed at reinventing formerly marginalized female voices.

                                                                    • Coetzee, J. M. “André Brink and the Censor.” Research in African Literatures 21.3 (1990): 59–74.

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                                                                      A compelling psycho-analytical reading of Brink’s accounts of the (South African) writer’s contest with the censor. Recognizing Brink’s stand against the censor as exemplary, Coetzee interrogates his metaphor of the writer as a diagnostic organ of the body politic and stages the question of positionality: “Is diagnosis carried out from inside or outside the body?” (p. 72)

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                                                                      • Joseph-Vilain, Mélanie. “Writing Woman Back into History: Magic Realism in André Brink’s Imaginings of Sand.” Commonwealth Essays and Studies 26.1 (2003): 61–69.

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                                                                        Positively appraises Brink’s use of magic realism to explore the female body as an alternative site of expressing and transmitting both feminine identity and history, given its power to engender history and its rebirth. The female protagonist’s rebirth through a metaphoric rite of passage equally demonstrates women’s embodiment of history by her ultimate assumption of sundry responsibilities.

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                                                                        • Kauer, Ute. “The Need to Storify: Re-inventing the Past in André Brink’s Novels.” In Readings of the Particular: The Postcolonial in the Postnational. Edited by Anne Holding Ronning and Rene Johannesen, 57–69. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2007.

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                                                                          Examines the compact between history and story-telling in four of Brink’s post-apartheid novels and their use in identity construction. Arguing that the need to “storify” is the necessity of counter-memories to interrogate official history, Ute focuses on “cultural memory and the construction of hybrid identities” and Brink’s “reinvention of the formerly marginalised female voices” (p. 301). Reprinted in Burger and Szczurek 2013 (cited under Essay Collections), pp. 299–311.

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                                                                          • Kossew, Sue. “Resistance, Complicity and Post-colonial Politics.” Critical Survey 11.2 (1999): 18–30.

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                                                                            Theorizes the speaking-position of white South African writers, and argues that the recognition of their work as postcolonial helps illuminate the processes of identity-formation and textual resistance. Her discussion of Coetzee’s response to Brink’s formulation of a resistance writer’s position against censorship relates this article especially to Brink’s work.

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                                                                            • Kossew, Sue. “Giving Voice: Narrating Silence, History and Memory in André Brink’s The Other Side of Silence and Before I Forget.” Tydskrif vir Letterkunde 42.1 (2005): 134–146.

                                                                              DOI: 10.4314/tvl.v42i1.29697Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                              Reads The Other Side of Silence and Before I Forget to examine the paradox in Brink’s voicing of female silences and violations, highlighting his embodiment of the appropriative propensities he critiques. Kossew acknowledges though that Brink enacts his awareness of the limits of his transgressive projects in the two novels in a manner hardly discernible in his preceding fiction.

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                                                                              • Stander, Christell. “Fallogosentriese Konstruksie van Vroulikheid in die Pre-modernistiese Brink-Oeuvre.” Stilet 8.11 (1996): 58–69.

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                                                                                Discusses Brink’s ambivalent conception of female sexuality. Stander argues that debunking the myth of the woman as virgin in Calvinist patriarchal Afrikaner society, Brink creates a new stereotype of the woman hardly feminine, merely representing “the male protagonist’s potential to become free” (p. 126) and which equally undermines the feminist cause. Afrikaans text. Reprinted in Burger and Szczurek 2013, pp. 126–145.

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                                                                                • Viljoen, Louise. “Kan die Slaaf Praat? Die Stem van die Slaaf in enkele Brink-Romans.” Stilet 14.2 (2002): 92–116.

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                                                                                  This discussion of Brink’s representation of slave and indigenous characters draws on Spivak’s engaging theorization on the ambivalences of postcolonial representation. Examining selected novels, Viljoen highlights the abiding danger of appropriation inherent in giving voice to the voiceless and Brink’s deployment of narrative strategies to avoid that danger. Afrikaans text. Reprinted in Burger and Szczurek 2013, pp. 412–443.

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                                                                                  • Wenzel, Marita. “The Latin American Connection: History, Memory and Stories in Novels by Isabel Allende and André Brink.” In Storyscapes: South African Perspectives on Literature, Space and Identity. Edited by Heins Viljoen and Chris N. van der Merwe, 71–88. New York: Peter Lang, 2004.

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                                                                                    Examines Brink’s post-apartheid and Isabel Allende’s fiction to foreground their concern with postcolonial and gender themes as well as their deployment of magic realism to interrogate imperialistic concepts of representation. Reading Imaginings of Sand, she shows that stories interrogate historical documentation and are emblematic of the dynamic process of identity construction. Reprinted in Burger and Szczurek 2013, pp. 312–339.

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                                                                                    Violence and Torture

                                                                                    Brink recognized early in his career the recourse of the apartheid establishment to violence as a means of perpetuating itself. He had to invent, however, modes of inscribing institutionalized violence especially in its form as torture to beguile the censor. This in itself raised both aesthetic and ethical questions. Findlay 1984 noted Brink’s recurrent inscriptions of the tortured body and remarked on its intended role of conscientization. Coetzee 1990 (cited under Representing the Subaltern: Race, Gender, and Positionality), even citing Brink’s insight on the need to invent parables to evade the censor’s relentless gaze, questions Brink’s invocation of a “morally slippery concept of fictionality” in Brink’s defense of his depictions of police brutality in his banned novel, Kennis van die and (Coetzee 1990, p. 73). Jolly 1996 highlights the implications of the modes of representing violence in fiction. Diala 2002 traces Brink’s theology of torture to Christian and Camusian influences and examines the impact of his inscriptions of torture on his political goals. Brittan 2005 closely examines the aesthetic and ideological challenges Brink faced in depicting violence in apartheid South Africa while Pimentel Biscaia 2012 shows South Africa to be Brink’s focus in The Other Side of Silence and equally argues Brink’s indication of extreme violence as inherent in the nature of the imperial project itself.

                                                                                    • Brittan, Alice. “Reading Sex and Violence in André Brink’s Rumours of Rain and A Dry White Season.” Tydskrif vir Letterkunde 42.1 (2005): 55–77.

                                                                                      DOI: 10.4314/tvl.v42i1.29692Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      Fascinating exploration of the challenges of representing violence (in apartheid South Africa). Brittan highlights the ideological and aesthetic implications of Brink’s appropriation of pornographic depictions of female white bodies as a figure of tortured (male) bodies and his equation of blacks with the suffering earth.

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                                                                                      • Diala, Isidore. “History and the Inscriptions of Torture as Purgatorial Fire in André Brink’s Fiction.” Studies in the Novel 34.1 (2002): 60–80.

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                                                                                        Explores the influence of the Bible and Albert Camus on Brink’s depiction of torture. It discusses how theologizing torture dissocializes and dehistoricizes it and how Camus encouraged Brink to contemplate even historical suffering as eternal, requiring modes of adjustment rather than a resolution.

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                                                                                        • Findlay, Allan. “André Brink and the Challenge from Within in South Africa.” In Proceedings from the Second Nordic Conference for English. Edited by Hakan Ringbom and Matti Rissananen, 581–590. Åbo, Finland: Abo Akademi Foundation, 1984.

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                                                                                          Findlay’s identification of Brink’s abiding use of both historic and documentary material stresses violence and torture as a relentless strategy of the apartheid establishment. He discerns Brink’s fixation with the body “battered into idiocy or maimed into physical incompetence” (p. 584) by institutionalized mechanisms, aimed at “awaken[ing] the white conscience and the black will” (p. 589).

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                                                                                          • Jolly, Jane Rosemary. Colonization, Violence, and Narration in White South African Writing: André Brink, Breyten Breytenbach and J. M. Coetzee. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1996.

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                                                                                            Investigating Brink’s representation of violence in A Dry White Season and A Chain of Voices, Jolly contends that Brink’s exploration of human relationships as invariably violent especially in the latter novel reads as an exemplification of her thesis of the “original” Western “determinants of mastery and slavedom” (p. 31).

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                                                                                            • Pimentel Biscaia, Maria Sofia. “Colluding Strokes: Imperialistic Brutality and Affection in André Brink’s The Other Side of Silence.” In Intercultural Crossings: Conflict, Memory and Identity. Edited by Lénia Marques, Pimentel Biscaia Maria Sofia, and Glória Bastos, 139–150. Brussels: Peter Lang, 2012.

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                                                                                              This article discerns not only strong political ethics but also the “aesthetic of violence” (p. 145) at the heart of Brink’s fiction. It argues that Brink’s engagement with different geopolitical structures in The Other Side of Silence privileges extreme violence as paradigmatic of the imperialistic project.

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                                                                                              The Language Issue

                                                                                              Brink translated his 1963 novel Die Ambassadeur from Afrikaans into English first as File on a Diplomat and later as The Ambassador. It was, however, the translation of the banned 1973 novel Kennis van die Aand into English as Looking on Darkness that first drew attention to his self-translation and then to his bilingual writing, a process of simultaneous writing in English and Afrikaans that gave each version of a novel distinct qualities. He repeatedly drew attention to the contrasting features of the two languages and their creative possibilities: “There is a certain virility, a certain earthy, youthful quality about Afrikaans because it is such a young language, and because, although derived from an old European language like Dutch, it has found completely new roots in Africa and become totally Africanized in the process. [. . .] It’s a language that can take much more emotionalism, for instance, whereas English tends toward understatement, Afrikaans is more overt, more externalized, more extroverted in its approach” (Ross 1982, p. 56, cited under General Overviews). Brink won major South African prizes for literature for work done in both English and Afrikaans. Wade 1993 appraises the political and cultural impact of Brink’s choice to write in English while De Roubaix 2012 suggests the advantages of de-emphasizing the compartmentalization of writing and translation which Brink himself advocates for. Kruger 2000 and Kruger 2012 regard Brink’s works in English as original texts in their own right. The author cites Brink’s tempering in Looking on Darkness, the English translation of his banned Kennis van die Aand, of the portrayal of sex and violence which contributed to the shock value in the Afrikaans original as an illustration of crucial distinctions between the Afrikaans and English versions of his works.

                                                                                              • De Roubaix, Lelanie. “Where Boundaries Blur: André Brink as Writer, Bilingual Writer, Translator and Self-translator.” In Versatility in Translation Studies: Selected Papers of the CETRA Research Seminar in Translation Studies 2011. Edited by Isis Herrero and Todd Klaiman, 1–17. Leuven, Belgium: University of Leuven, 2012.

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                                                                                                Identifies Brink’s multiple creative roles as writer, bilingual writer, translator, and self-translator and remarks on the inevitable influence of each of these on the others. She notes Brink’s preference to appraise his creative process as bilingual writing rather than (self‑)translation but discerns gains in blurring the boundaries of these creative processes and their products.

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                                                                                                • Kruger, Alet. “Afrikaans.” In The Oxford Guide of Literature in English Translation. Edited by Peter France, 136–138. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                  Regarding Brink’s works in English as virtual sovereign texts, Kruger argues that Brink as self-translator takes liberties inconceivable to other translators of his work. She notes usefully that, given the minority status of Afrikaans, Brink’s English translations are mediating source texts for translation into other languages.

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                                                                                                  • Kruger, Alet. “Translation, Self-translation and ‘Apartheid’-imposed Conflict.” Journal of Language and Politics 11.2 (2012): 273–292.

                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1075/jlp.11.2.06kruSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    Characterizes Brink’s self-translation as near autonomous texts, given the liberties he takes as author-translator. She identifies Brink’s English translations as a specific “propaganda tool” against apartheid, and notes the irony that his Afrikaans work received official recognition only after the phase of his protest writing.

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                                                                                                    • Wade, Michael. White on Black in South: A Study of English Language Inscriptions of Skin Colour. London: Macmillan, 1993.

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                                                                                                      Reflects on the “momentous political implications” of Brink’s choice to write in the “enemy language,” English. Argues that for a clan hitherto restricting the question of its identity and political destiny to Afrikaner culture, the choice placed the closely guarded family dispute within the universal discourse of the literary tradition of a world language.

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                                                                                                      Criticism on Individual Works

                                                                                                      This section presents representative criticism on Brink’s individual works. It is subdivided into subsections on his fiction, his drama, his polemical and scholarly writings, and his memoirs. The selections invariably reaffirm his comparative pre-eminence as a novelist by highlighting the obvious greater critical attention paid to the individual novels; they equally reveal that the breadth and stunning range of both Brink’s thematic concerns and techniques across the genres notwithstanding, his work ultimately is of one piece. References to individual works, of course, also appear in other sections. The subsection on Brink’s fiction that follows is arranged in a chronological order from The Ambassador (1967) to Philida (2012).

                                                                                                      The Ambassador (1967)

                                                                                                      Brink had published six novels in Afrikaans before The Ambassador which itself was also first published in Afrikaans as Die Ambassadeur in 1963. These novels include Dir meul teen die hang (1958), Die gebondenes (1958), Eindelose (1960), Lobola vir die lewe (1962), Orgie (1965), and Miskien nooit (1967). However, while the others have only Afrikaans versions, Die Ambassadeur was translated by Brink himself into English first as File on a Diplomat in 1967; in 1985 Brink published a revised translation of the novel as The Ambassador. Meintjes 2013 characterizes Brink’s first three novels in Afrikaans as traditionally realist in mode and the latter three, just like The Ambassador, as modernist, a feature Brink championed with the Sestigers in Afrikaans literature; he notes the work’s experimental form and intertexuality. Pieterse 1990 and Van der Merwe 1994 focus on Brink’s secularization of Christian doctrines and the novel’s use of Dante’s Divina Commedia.

                                                                                                      • Meintjes, Godfrey. “André Brink’s Oeuvre: An Overview.” In Contrary: Critical Responses to the Novels of André Brink. Edited by Willie Burger and Magdalena Szczurek, 37–95. Pretoria, South Africa: Protea Book House, 2013.

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                                                                                                        Stresses the continuity between this novel and Brink’s preceding text, Lobola vir die lewe. Argues that the novel de-emphasizes storyline but flaunts instead its “duplicitous web” (p. 42) of both events and allusions. Foregrounds the influence of Dante’s Divina Commedia, seeing the contrasts between the protagonists of the two works as highlighting the existential choices that confront modern humankind.

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                                                                                                        • Pieterse, H. J. “Die ‘Purgatorio’-allusies in Die ambassadeur.” Stilet 2.1 (1990): 131–140.

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                                                                                                          While critics readily reference Dante’s Divinia Commedia in The Ambassador, especially Inferno and Paradiso, the same cannot be said of Purgatorio. Pieterse explores these allusions. Summarizing Dante’s Purgatory, he notes instances of the protagonist’s spiritual growth guided by the Beatrice-like figure, Nicolette. Divinia Commedia is secularized and adapted to the existentialist and individualist consciousness of The Ambassador. Afrikaans text.

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                                                                                                          • Van der Merwe, C. N. Breaking Barriers: Stereotypes and the Changing of Values in Afrikaans Writing 1875–1990. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1994.

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                                                                                                            Examines Brink’s interrogation and adaptation of traditional Christian doctrines in the novel. Highlights Dante’s Divina Commedia as a model, and comments on the exaltation of sex as a central human experience and the expression of the Christian doctrine of eternity as the experience of “timelessness” in the “earthy erotic union” (p. 97) between a man and a woman.

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                                                                                                            Looking on Darkness (1974)

                                                                                                            Brink’s novel, Kennis van die Annd (1973), translated a year after by Brink himself as Looking on Darkness, attained notoriety as the first Afrikaans work to be banned in apartheid South Africa. Brink himself noted how the novel evoked “one of the fiercest polemics in the history” of South African literature and contributed to Afrikaners’ discovery of the common humanity they shared with other peoples regardless of color, and so in Europe became a “handbook on the South African situation” (Ross 1982, p. 38, cited under General Overviews). It marked the beginning of Brink’s explicitly political fiction. In early reviews, Crain 1975 called it an “anatomy of racist South Africa” and Tucker 1975 a “propagandist statement” of the horrors of apartheid. Findlay 1984 (cited under General Overviews) identified its central preoccupation with the national issue of miscegenation as extremely, even sensationally, topical in 1973. Hassall 1991 drew attention to the novel’s intertextuality and traced its dominant imagery of darkness to Shakespeare and the sources of the seven epigraphs in four different languages that frame the novel. Diala 2002 (cited under Violence and Torture) traces the protagonist’s rise from social inaction and evasion through acting to the acceptance of the worldly affiliations of art, and explores in some detail the impact of two sources of the novel’s epigraphs on Brink’s theme of torture: St. John of the Cross and Albert Camus. Van der Merwe 2012 investigates the novel’s affirmation of the continuing relevance of scapegoating as well as its investment of familiar theological concepts with new secular meanings. Etherington and Zimbler 2014 restates the earlier debate on the novel: the artistic merit/austerity of Brink’s explicitly political novel.

                                                                                                            • Crain, Jane Larkin. “New Books: Looking on Darkness.” Saturday Review (23 August 1975): 45–46.

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                                                                                                              This review of the novel appraised it as “ambitious and disturbing,” and noted how it achieves tragic stature, and “unbearable intensity” in scenes of cruelty, torture, and degradation. Brink’s narrative control, revelation of the spiritual and cultural trauma of apartheid, and his inclination to melodrama are also remarked upon.

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                                                                                                              • Etherington, Ben, and Jarad Zimbler. “Field, Material, Technique: On Renewing Postcolonial Literary Criticism.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 49.3 (2014): 279–297.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1177/0021989414538435Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                This article discusses the novel briefly in light of Brink’s own renunciation of the Sestigers for their moral evasion of South African realities in preference for experimentation derived from European trends. It argues though that the novel hardly rises above a replication of the apartheid statute-book’s catalogue of proscriptions.

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                                                                                                                • Hassall, Anthony J. “André Brink.” In International Literature in English. Edited by Robert L. Ross, 181–192. Chicago: St James, 1991.

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                                                                                                                  Hassall’s illuminating overview of Brink’s first eight novels in English notes the intertextuality of several of the texts. In Looking on Darkness, he highlights the impact of the seven epigraphs and thirteen Shakespearean sonnets used as a framing device, providing the novel’s presiding imagery of darkness and a “depth of resonance to the specific South African experience” explored (p. 184).

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                                                                                                                  • Kruger, Alet. “Afrikaans.” In The Oxford Guide of Literature in English Translation. Edited by Peter France, 136–138. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                    Offers insightful comparison between Brink’s English language translation and the Afrikaans original. She contends that while Brink strives to create English idiolects for his characters as in the Afrikaans text, he takes liberty with the text, especially tempering the use of foul language and portrayal of violence and sex so pronounced in the Afrikaans.

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                                                                                                                    • Tucker, Martin. “Books: Looking on Darkness.” Commonweal (12 September 1975): 410–412.

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                                                                                                                      In this review of the novel, Tucker notes its propagandist inclination in its passionate espousal of the necessity of change in South Africa as well as its general reaffirmation of human hopes and despair. He comments on Brink’s challenge in handling violence.

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                                                                                                                      • Van der Merwe, Chris N. “Rethinking Religion in a Time of Trauma.” In Trauma, Memory, and Narrative in the Contemporary South African Novel: Essays. Edited by Ewald Mengel and Michela Borzaga, 195–215. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2012.

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                                                                                                                        Invoking religion as a means of providing continuity and renewal in times of trauma, Van der Merwe explores the theme of the scapegoat in this novel. Resonant with Biblical echoes and paradigms, and anchored on a protagonist modeled on the Christ archetype, the novel, he asserts, suggests the possibility of communal expiation through the scapegoat mechanism.

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                                                                                                                        An Instant in the Wind (1976)

                                                                                                                        First published in Afrikaans in 1975 as’n Oomblik in die wind, An Instant in the Wind is one of Brink’s most discussed novels and has attracted some of the profoundest scholarly comments on Brink’s work. Brink’s emblematic protagonists, a black man on the run from the law and a stranded white woman, compelled to discover love and the reciprocities of human communion in the demanding pilgrimage through the wilderness of life, have been seen in Biblical, mythical, allegorical, colonial/postcolonial terms. Hassall 1987 eloquently examines Brink’s appropriation of the Mrs Fraser story mythologized in Sidney Nolan’s paintings as an enabling myth to understand the origins of racism in contemporary South Africa (see Comparative Studies). Wenzel 2001 responds to and strives to extend Hassall’s insights. Jacobs 1994 reads the novel as counter-hegemonic mythmaking aimed at interrogating a monolithic Afrikaner concept of history. Viljoen 2004 examines the novel’s demonstration of space as a code in constructing identity in South Africa while Larsen 2005 explores the role of landscape as an emblem of national identity. Titlestad and Kissack 2005 refutes the lure of the allegorical form for the greyness of political history.

                                                                                                                        • Jacobs, Alan. “The Nightmare of History Revisited: André Brink’s An Instant in the Wind.” In Postcolonial Literature and the Biblical Call for Justice. Edited by Susan VanZanten Gallagher, 225–227. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1994.

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                                                                                                                          A truly engaging work which examines this novel as a reinterpretation of the monolithic Afrikaner history rooted in a Biblical typology that inscribes Afrikanerdom as the second Israel. Brink’s alternative myth which valorizes individual experience above communally dictated history, however, flounders as the self is shown to be inextricably “immersed in culture and society” (p. 193).

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                                                                                                                          • Larsen, Svend Erik. “The National Landscape: National Identity or Post-colonial Experience?” European Review 13.2 (2005): 293–303.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/S1062798705000426Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Explores both the deconstruction and replication of characteristic European construction of the landscape into powerful symbols of national identity in postcolonial literature. Briefly but powerfully, Larsen argues Brink’s insight that identity does not derive naturally from the national landscape “amalgamated with a national ideology” (p. 296); the landscape instead acquires meaning from human inventiveness and history.

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                                                                                                                            • Titlestad, Michael, and Mike Kissack. “A Wrecked Life: Allegorical Transcendence in André Brink’s An Instant in the Wind.” Scrutiny2 10.1 (2005): 17–28.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1080/18125440508566027Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              Investigating the failure of the alternative this novel offers to a social history of repression, they read it as a metafictional critique of the allegorical mode in which the evanescent transcendence is configured. Brink, they argue, denounces “consolatory allegorical fantasy” for an engagement with the “secular complexities of political history” (p. 27).

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                                                                                                                              • Viljoen, Louise. “Civilization and Wilderness: Colonial Spatial Boundaries and the Construction of Contemporary South African Identity in André Brink’s An Instant in the Wind and Kirby van der Merwe’s Klapperhaar slaap nooit stil nie (One can never sleep quietly on a coir mattress).” In Storyscapes: South African Perspectives on Literature, Space & Identity. Edited by Hein Viljoen and Chris N. Van der Merwe, 137–153. New York: Peter Lang, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                Appraises how this novel deconstructs as well as perpetuates spaces as a crucial code in the construction of identity under apartheid. Viljoen avers that the critiqued signal spatial binary, “wilderness” and “civilization” and their symbolic analogues, inscribing blacks/women as the “Other” in apartheid discourse, is replicated by Brink, whose choice of the tragic mode interrogates his idealized vision.

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                                                                                                                                • Wenzel, Marita. “Reading the Ideological Subtext in André Brink’s An Instant in the Wind and Patrick White’s A Fringe of Leaves.” Literator 2.2 (August 2001): 61–75.

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                                                                                                                                  Reads the two novels as rewritings of the Eliza Fraser story with differing ideological preoccupations. Exploring intertextuality in the two novels, Wentzel privileges each writer’s context to argue for the compact between history and fiction in the postcolonial literary debate and to account for Brink’s fixation with race relations and White’s with gender issues.

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                                                                                                                                  Rumours of Rain (1978)

                                                                                                                                  Published in the same year with its Afrikaans version, Geruggte van reen, Rumours of Rain was runner up for the Booker Prize in 1978. It is certainly Brink’s work with the greatest number of suggested models: Rich 1982 discerns the influence of Gordimer’s The Conservationist; Macaskill 1990 corroborates Rich’s insight (cited under Comparative Studies); Obumselu 1990 points in the direction of Schwartz-Bart’s Le Dernier des justes and André Malraux’s La Condition Humaine (cited under General Overviews); Diala 2006 closely examines the Malraux link (cited under Literary Influences). Virtually all these sources locate the novel too in South African history by identifying Braam Fischer as the demonstrable model of the positive hero of the novel, Bernard Franken. Brink’s legend of the Afrikaner messiah, which begins in this novel and extends to much of his fiction after, is staged in this novel in terms of the constant comparison made between the self-sacrificial Bernard and the egotistical protagonist-narrator of the novel, Martin Mynhardt. While Rich 1982 examines the development of the postmodernist South African novel, Macdermott 1988 and Zyl 2005 focus on Brink’s deconstruction of the traditional concept of Afrikaner identity and search for the Afrikaner savior.

                                                                                                                                  • Macdermott, Doireann. “A Narrow Beam of Light: A Reading of Two Novels by André Brink.” World Literature Written in English 28.2 (1988): 178–188.

                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1080/17449858808589057Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    Highlights the correspondences between Rumours of Rain and A Dry White Season in historical setting, the protagonists’ background, and (moral) challenges. She also explores an undercurrent of metaphors related to an apocalyptic drought, downpour, and darkness, with one protagonist retreating into deeper darkness and the other groping toward redemptive light.

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                                                                                                                                    • Rich, Paul. “Tradition and Revolt in South African Fiction: The Novels of André Brink, Nadine Gordimer and J. M. Coetzee.” Journal of Southern African Studies 9.1 (1982): 54–73.

                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1080/03057078208708050Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      Rich assesses this novel as indebted to Gordimer’s The Conservationist, claiming it indeed reads occasionally as “a pastiche of Gordimer” (p. 66). He discerns in Rumours vestiges of the European pastoral tradition and so ranks it lowly in his account of the evolution and emergence of the post-modernist South African novel.

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                                                                                                                                      • Zyl, Wium van. “Karakters en betoog in André P. Brink se Gerugte van reen.” Tydskrif vir Letterkunde 42.1 (2005): 79–92.

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                                                                                                                                        Focuses on Brink’s rhetorical processes in Rumours of Rain and especially on his use of contrasted characterization to exemplify the diverse notions of Afrikaner identity: the ostensible “nationalist” but in reality egotistical Martin Mynhardt and the self-sacrificing Bernard Franken. Afrikaans text.

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                                                                                                                                        A Dry White Season (1979)

                                                                                                                                        Brink’s canonical novel, A Dry White Season, with its Afrikaans version titled’n Droe wi seisoen, was published in 1979. Brink drew attention to the impact on the novel of the Soweto riots of 1976 and the death of the Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko. He demonstrates in the novel the insidious process by which ordinary even apparently apolitical Afrikaners became bulwarks of the apartheid system through ignorance and naiveté. The moment of illumination for his Afrikaner protagonist, a teacher of the official history, is the moment of discovering the complicity of history as a species of ideological mythmaking, rather than irrefutable truth. Straying from the laager in search of truth is treated not only as exhilarating but also traumatic given its overhaul of what had been accepted as given. The novel inspired a film of the same title. Jolly 1996 examines the dark fascination with torture in this novel (cited under Violence and Torture). Davis 1997 similarly discusses the novel’s depiction of totalitarianism and the far-reaching consequences of confronting it. Brittan 2005 appraises Brink’s striving to avoid “turning the obscenity of torture into an object of aesthetic pleasure” (p. 55). Regarding this novel as representative of Brink’s “realistic” approach, that is, as best illustrative of “the function of the writer as a reporter” (p. 102), Joseph-Vilain 2009 adopts it as an appropriate measure for Brink’s critical theory on novelistic discourse. Carchidi 1991 and Papagianni 2009 compare the novel and its filmic adaptation.

                                                                                                                                        • Brittan, Alice. “Reading Sex and Violence in André Brink’s Rumours of Rain and A Dry White Season.” Tydskrif vir Letterkunde 42.1 (2005): 55–77.

                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.4314/tvl.v42i1.29692Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                          Explores the ideological problems created by Brink’s avoidance of representing the properties of the violated (black) male body by the abundant accumulation of erotic white female bodies and incidents of sexual violence. Contends that Brink’s depiction of the female body ultimately supports rather than subverts the vision of apartheid.

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                                                                                                                                          • Carchidi, Victoria. “Representing South Africa: Apartheid from Print to Film.” Film and History 21.1 (1991): 20–27.

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                                                                                                                                            A very insightful comparison of Brink’s novel and Euzhan Placy’s filmic adaptation of the same title (alongside Cry Freedom and A World Apart) as textual and cinematic representation of apartheid. While the film is praised for shirking Brink’s distractive sexual subplot, the novel is considered more effective in conveying apartheid’s inescapable “claustrophobic effect” (p. 25).

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                                                                                                                                            • Davis, Jane. “In the Grasp of White Primitives: The Fight for Humanity in André Brink’s A White Dry Season, 1984.” In South Africa: A Botched Civilization? Racial Conflict and Identity in Selected South African Novels. By Jane Davis, 69–105. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                              Discerning correspondences between this novel and Orwell’s 1984, Davis examines this novel as a counter-mythology of racist myths that locates humane values beyond the racial laager and so reads it as a timeless tale on the nature and consequences of totalitarianism and of the human cost of the attainment of freedom.

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                                                                                                                                              • Joseph-Vilain, Mélanie. “First Hand Becomes Second Hand”: André Brink’s A Dry White Season.” Commonwealth Essays and Studies 32.1 (2009): 98–109.

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                                                                                                                                                Reads this novel in the light of Brink’s nonfictional discourse which stresses self-reflexivity, a defining attribute of postmodernism, as a generic constant. Noting how this novel highlights its metafictional features and ostensibly exploits the storytelling properties of language, she underscores the limit of Brink’s theory by affirming the pre-eminence of its context over its text.

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                                                                                                                                                • Papagianni, Chrysavgi. “History in White and Black: Euzhan Palcy’s ‘A Dry White Season.’” Peer English 4 (2009): 6–15.

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                                                                                                                                                  Focuses on the transformations Brink’s novel undergoes at the hands of the female black film director, Placy. Emphasizes black presence, feminism, and stronger black resistance to apartheid. The cinematic focus on tortured black bodies as inscriptions of a denied history comments both on a pervasive Brink theme and the power of filmic representation of (apartheid) violence.

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                                                                                                                                                  A Chain of Voices (1982)

                                                                                                                                                  Brink identified his basic subject in A Chain of Voices (in Afrikaans Houd-den-bek) as the slave revolt in the Cape colony in 1825. Using, however, thirty different narrators whose eighty-four interior monologues in four sections of the text are related to the elements of earth, water, wind, and fire, to explore the conditions that culminated in the historical revolt, Brink’s concerns are complex and range through the political, the mythical, and the psychological. While JanMohamed 1985 notes Brink’s replication of racial stereotypes/archetypes in the novel, Lindgren identifies Brink’s protagonists in the novel as archetypal and links his study interestingly to Greek mythology. Jolly 1996 equally demonstrates the passion to account for human experiences by tracing them to their ultimate sources, as she cites several Western philosophical traditions that consider domination and submission crucial in the history of civilization. Raditlhalo 2004 notes the novel’s illumination of the history of race relations in South Africa as well as its problematic identity issues.

                                                                                                                                                  • JanMohamed, Abdul R. “The Economy of Manichean Allegory: The Function of Racial Difference in Colonialist Literature.” Critical Enquiry 12.1 (1985): 59–87.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1086/448321Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Brief but important mention that apparently compliments Brink on a “radical” historical novel that gives a voice to slaves and expresses their desire for freedom. Argues, however, that the novel is still rooted in “racial stereotypes/archetypes” (p. 72), with whites in sexual control and blacks fixated on sex; and that, moreover, the novel’s framing device undermines its “historical” nature.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Jolly, Jane Rosemary. Colonization, Violence, and Narration in White South African Writing: André Brink, Breyten Breytenbach and J. M. Coetzee. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                      Reads this novel as a demonstration of the “‘original’ determinants of mastery and slavedom” (p. 31). Noting its depiction of the violent as intimate and thus desirable, Jolly especially investigates the novel’s inscription of violence as a basis for her description of the narrative violence she demonstrates the novel indulges in.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Lindgren, John Erik Bøe. “André Brink’s A Chain of Voices: from Camus, through Archetypes, to Greek Mythology.”:

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                                                                                                                                                        Lindgren explores Brink’s use of archetypal characters in the novel: Piet, the evil father figure, Ma Rose, the earth mother, Nicolaas, Camus’s absurd modern man, and Galant, the rebel slave. His focal character, however, is Hester whom he cites Bolen repeatedly to argue is modeled on the Greek goddess, Hestia, characterized by her “inward-focused consciousness” (p. 7).

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                                                                                                                                                        • Raditlhalo, Sam. “Aspects of Identity in Recent South African Fiction.” In Experience and Identity in Recent South African Literature: Proceeds of an International Colloquium, Organised by the Department of English, University of Groningen, The Netherlands, 10 January 2003. Edited by Margriet Van der Waal and Helen Wilcox, 49–63. Groningen, The Netherlands: University of Groningen, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                          Examines the endless transformation of identity construction in South Africa and accounts for its representation in its fiction, especially the fascination with miscegenation. Reads this novel as one that traces South African race relations to the 18th century when slavery was normative and the dehumanization of the colonized achieved by violent excesses.

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                                                                                                                                                          The Wall of the Plague (1984)

                                                                                                                                                          Set in France, Brink’s The Wall of the Plague has elicited critical responses that emphasize his European heritage as well as his striving to comprehend his South African experience partly through the European prism. A medieval plague in Europe (with all its resonant symbolism and implication for the human adventure itself so crucial that there even developed a “genre of plague fiction”) is a signal metaphor for coming to grasp with the realities of the experience of apartheid in South Africa. Hassall 1991 sets in relief this pivotal link when he likens the protective wall constructed against the medieval plague, a cordon sanitaire, to the wall of apartheid and the laager of Boer wagons (cited under General Overviews). Peck 1992 investigates the novel as the demonstration-piece of Brink’s French/Camusian existentialist heritage. Similarly, Kehinde 2010 examines the novel’s allegorical technique while Lund 2011 appraises Brink’s use and transgression of the genre of plague fiction.

                                                                                                                                                          • Kehinde, Ayo. “André Brink’s The Wall of the Plague and the Alter-Native Literary Tradition in South Africa.” SKASE Journal of Literary Studies 2.1 (2010): 19–35.

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                                                                                                                                                            Appraises positively Brink’s imaginative appropriation of apartheid South African sociopolitical experience in this novel. He highlights his innovativeness in transposing a French story to apartheid South Africa through an allegory both to create aesthetic distance between himself and his South African society and to evade the censor’s surveillance.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Lund, Giuliana. “Black Death, White Writing: André Brink’s The Wall of the Plague as a Narrative of National Reconciliation.” Safundi 12.2 (2011): 149–177.

                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1080/17533171.2011.557190Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              Locates the novel in the tradition of the Western genre of plague fiction, and appraises both Brink’s innovative adaptation of the genre to his South African context and the generic limitations of that literary tradition manifest in his work.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Peck, Richard. “Condemned to Choose, but What? Existentialism in Selected Works by Fugard, Brink and Gordimer.” Research in African Literatures 23.3 (1992): 67–84.

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                                                                                                                                                                Emphasizes the novel’s intellectual background in existentialism, principally Camus’s. Especially in the longing for community which accounts for the signal relationships in the novel, in the inevitability of social involvement and, given the impact of one’s past and prevailing situation on one’s choices, Peck finds a demonstration of his thesis.

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                                                                                                                                                                States of Emergency (1988)

                                                                                                                                                                This is the only novel by Brink without an Afrikaans version. His banning of its distribution in South Africa demonstrated further his reluctance to have the novel read in his home country. Speaking to Getz, Brink noted, “All my books are very autobiographical, I cannot write otherwise” (Getz 1989, p. 10, cited under Interviews). He, however, acknowledged that the nature of the correspondences between his life experience and the love experience explored in the novel was “capable of hurting people close to him.” Getz’s apparently informed annotation of Brink’s comment is that the circumstances of the relation between Grahamstown professor Phillip Mallan and Melisa Lotman in the novel “closely mirror Brink’s own involvement with former student Marissa Beer.” Brink equally declared in the interview about this novel: “I wanted to find out if I could write a simple love story with no politics attached. I couldn’t. I found out that in South Africa, a love story with no politics in it becomes a political statement itself, because it means opting out of other responsibilities” (Getz 1989, p. 10, cited under Interviews). Commentators on this work discern its confessional quality and slippages not only among the competing narratives of the text but also between history and fiction. Hassall 1991 draws attention to the novel’s “acute postmodern awareness of the multi-dimensional nature of textuality and the multiple regressions of ‘reality’ behind and beyond the proliferating layers of text” (p. 188). Sorapure 1991 calls the story “discontinuous, self-referential, and intertextual” (p. 660) and “a novel in state of emergence” (p. 664). Andon-Milligan 1992 illustrates through this novel the various compulsions that South African writers under apartheid were subjected to. Kossew 1996 (cited under Comparative Studies) observes the recurring eliding of “the gap between the author-figure and Brink himself” (p. 184) and suggests: “Authorial intrusions and the sense of the work as a work in progress, a self-reflexive novel about writing a novel, serve throughout the text to inscribe ambivalence and at the same to demonstrate the impossibility of separating the writing from the ‘lived experience’” (p. 186). Clingman 2012 equally notes the novel’s postmodern features.

                                                                                                                                                                • Andon-Milligan, Lillian Hilja. “André Brink’s South Africa: A Quality of Light.” Critique 34.1 (1992): 19–32.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Observes the peculiar pressures on South African writers, regards imaginative freedom as the condition that nurtures the artistic spirit and aesthetic excellence, and highlights Brink’s paradigmatic response to writing in a state of siege. Contends that this novel especially “foregrounds art in the emergency ward” (p. 26), embattled by, among others, the compulsions of apartheid politics and fascination with theory.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Clingman, Stephen. “Writing the Interregnum: Literature and the Demise of Apartheid.” In The Cambridge History of South African Literature. Edited by David Attwell and Derek Attridge, 633–651. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/CHOL9780521199285.032Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    Discussing the features of South African literature during the “interregnum,” Clingman associates Brink’s work of the period with “formal disruption.” Argues that drawing on the political turmoil of the decade and yet engaged in repeated invocations of major theorists, and deploying multiple narrators, the novel is self-consciously postmodern, illustrating “the cracked poetics of the South African interregnum” (p. 644).

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Hassall, Anthony J. “André Brink.” In International Literature in English. Edited by Robert L. Ross, 181–192. Chicago: St James, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Hassall’s perceptive overview of Brink’s first eight novels in English pays particular attention to States of Emergency, then the most recent. He considers it formally the most complex, notes its postmodern self-reflexivity and intertextuality and regards its central concern as exploring how political experience is textualized and personal experience fictionalized in moments of crisis.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Sorapure, Madeleine. “A Story in Love’s Default: André Brink’s States of Emergency.” Modern Fiction Studies 37.4 (1991): 659–675.

                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1353/mfs.0.0962Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        Recognizes the love story as a genre which Brink both writes within and transgresses to foreground its potentiality of political responsibility. Noting this novel’s intertextual resonance with Roland Bathes’s A Lover’s Discourse, Sorapure considers the story “discontinuous,” “self-referential,” and on the margin between theory and fiction and thus questioning “notions of reference and representation” (p. 674).

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                                                                                                                                                                        An Act of Terror (1991)

                                                                                                                                                                        Kossew 1996 (cited under Comparative Studies) has argued that “reclaiming” and “rewriting” Afrikaner identity have been crucial in Brink’s representation of the Afrikaner in his work. While in Rumours of Rain, Kossew identifies Brink’s representation of the “ugly Afrikaner,” in An Act of Terror, she argues, “Brink contrasts two types of Afrikaners: the dissident and the apologist,” his focus though being on the dissident Afrikaner (Kossew 1996, p. 111). Diala 2000 relates this novel to Brink’s legend of the Afrikaner messiah modeled on the self-sacrificial Christ, contrasts this with the Old Testament concept of an elect people in a Manichean relationship with its racial Others, and links it with an inclusive African humanism in Brink’s fiction first called by its Xhosa/Zulu name Ubuntu in this novel (cited under Literary Influences). Heyns 1994 discerns the expression of a sense of obsolescence in this novel. Viljoen 1995 pays attention to Brink’s view and use of history in this novel while Coetzee 1996 indicates an interest both in the discourse on history, identified as a “continuous writing” (p. 108), and the construction of Afrikaner identity. Joseph-Vilain 2004 considers the novel illustrative of Brink’s ambivalent attitude toward Afrikanerdom: revulsion and compassion. Attridge 2012 pays attention to Brink’s representation of the trauma of township violence.

                                                                                                                                                                        • Attridge, Derek. “‘To Speak of This You Would Need the Tongue of a God’: On Representing the Trauma of Township Violence.” In Trauma, Memory, and Narrative in the Contemporary South African Novel: Essays. Edited by Ewald Mengel and Michela Borzaga, 177–194. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Provides an insightful comparative reading of An Act and Coetzee’s Age of Iron as evocations of the trauma of the township violence of 1986. Arguing the “distinctiveness” and “special power” of Coetzee’s literary methods, Attridge nonetheless offers a close insightful analysis of Brink, stressing police complicity, the specific white perspective of his descriptions and use of “witnessing narrator.”

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Coetzee, Ampie. “Afrikaans Literature in the Service of Ethnic Politics?” In Afrikaans Literature: Recollection, Redefinition, Restitution: Papers Held at the 7th Conference on South African Literature at the Protestant Academy, Bad Boll. Edited by Robert Kriger and Ethel Kriger, 103–109. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Reads the novel principally as a discourse of South African history and the place of the Afrikaner in that history, and the novel’s supplement in terms of the Althusserian concept of history as “absent cause” (p. 109). Remarks on the recurring presence of the construct “Afrikaner” in Brink’s political oeuvre but finds in this novel the culmination of its identification.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Heyns, Michiel. “Overtaken by History? Obsolescence-Anxiety in André Brink’s An Act of Terror and Etienne Van Heerden’s Casspirs en Campari’s.” The English Academy Review: Southern African Journal of English Studies 11.1 (1994): 62–72.

                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1080/10131759485310101Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                              Discerns in both novels the expression of the anxiety of obsolescence, given each novel’s foregrounded chastened appraisal of the limits of novelistic discourse in the backdrop of apparently relentless historical movements. Drawing on Bakhtin, Heyns categorizes Casspirs en Campari’s as “novelistic” and An Act of Terror closer to the “epic.”

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Joseph-Vilain, Mélanie. “André Brink and the Afrikaner Heritage.” Commonwealth Essays and Studies 27.1 (2004): 27–37.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Addressing Brink’s recurring endeavor to reposition Afrikaner identity in the light of its history in Africa, Joseph-Vilain notes Brink’s fixation on dissidence and Africanity. She argues that An Act of Terror especially builds an Afrikaner counter-mythology, given its Afrikaner protagonist’s acknowledgement of his hybridity, exaltation of African humanism epitomized in ubuntu, and anxious ambivalence toward Afrikanerdom shared by Brink.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Viljoen, Louise. “Re-writing History: André Brink’s An Act of Terror (1991) and On the Contrary (1993).” KOERS 60.4 (1995): 505–519.

                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.4102/koers.v60i4.644Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                  Analyzes Brink’s different approaches to and interpretation of history in An Act of Terror and On the Contrary. Viljoen notes Brink’s hints in this novel of the complexities of representation in historiography and fiction, and his preference nonetheless for “a stable subject, presence and transparency” (p. 511) as capable of facilitating effective political action.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  The First Life of Adamastor (1993)

                                                                                                                                                                                  The First Life of Adamastor was published in 1993 (with its American edition published in the same year titled Cape of Storms: The First Life of Adamastor and the Afrikaans version under the title Die eerste lewe van Adamastor in 1998). It is Brink’s imaginative and ideological reconstruction of the moment of original contact between Africa and the West from an “African perspective.” His narrative underscores the reversal of cultural prejudices projected in earlier European accounts of the encounter as revelations of evolutionary hierarchies or even truths. Cyril Coetzee’s painting T’kama-Adamastor is partly modeled on The First Life of Adamastor. Commentators on the text note Brink’s specific rewriting of Camões’s epic The Lusiads. Van der Merwe 1990 examines the key symbols of the text. Lipking 1996 explicitly identifies the novel as a revitalization of the Adamastor myth in Camões’s work with a postcolonial inflection. While Herwitz 2000 argues that Brink’s “native perspective” reverses the European history of representation, Chait 2000 (cited under Comparative Studies) has deep reservations about the encoding of the apartheid experience in mythological terms. Twidle 2012 appraises the impact of Brink’s rewriting of Camões’s epic in a magical realist mode.

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Herwitz, Daniel. “History on White Linen.” In T’kama-Adamastor: Inventions of Africa in a South African Painting. Edited by Ivan Vladislavic, 71–81. Johannesburg: University of the Witwatersrand, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Examines comparatively Brink’s novel and the painting it partly inspired, T’Kama-Adamastor, as modes of representation of colonial experience. Remarking on Brink’s reversal of the history of representations by adopting the perspective of the “native,” Herwitz appraises the codes and repositories of colonial representations—literature, painting, museums, archives—as sources of knowledge.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Lipking, Lawrence. “The Genius of the Shore: Lycidas, Adamastor, and the Poetics of Nationalism.” PMLA 111.2 (1996): 205–221.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Arguing that Camões’s epic The Lusiads supremely illustrates the kinship between poetry and nationalism, Lipking briefly reads this novel as a revitalization of the Adamastor myth. Where the liminal Adamastor figure is shown in Brink to incarnate the Other, the colonial shipwreck is considered emblematic of his flinty resistance to the imperial project.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Twidle, Hedley. “First Lives, First Words: Camões, Magical Realism and the Limits of Invention.” Scrutiny2 17.1 (2012): 28–48.

                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1080/18125441.2012.706030Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                        Reading this work as a self-conscious postcolonial rewritign of Camões’s The Lusiads, Twidle stresses the metamorphosis of the epic, mediated through magical realism, into a “postcolonial, postmodern farce” (p. 31). He comments on Brink’s veering from an African sublime to the ridiculous, and appraises the place of the fabulism of magical realism in Southern Africa.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Van der Merwe, Alida. “Aspekte van die outeursvisie en outeursintensie in Die eerste lewe van Adamstor van André P. Brink.” Stilet 2.1 (1990): 65–79.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Fleetingly explores aspects of the author’s vision and intention, fictive and non-fictive characteristics in The First Life of Adamastor, and examines the key symbols of the text. Regarding the “contemporary white South African reader” as the “intended reader,” she sees the text as “a meeting place” where the conflicting views of the author and his readership meet. Afrikaans text.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          On the Contrary (1993)

                                                                                                                                                                                          Asked by Elnadi and Rifaat in 1993 if he thought that the political changes in South Africa would affect the style and subject matter of his writing, Brink acknowledged being marked by apartheid but said he did not need apartheid to be a writer. He envisaged a new sense of freedom to explore new subjects: “Part of that may take the form of filling in gaps in our history, scouting territory that was overlooked or forbidden during the years of apartheid” (Elnadi and Rifaat 1993, p. 8, cited under Interviews). He noted that On the Contrary, which was to be published in English shortly, would mark a turning point in his writing: “In On the Contrary [. . .] I have made my first attempt to correct the historical record and fill in a gap, and I think there is more humour in it than in my earlier writings. In forthcoming novels I shall be trying to get more and more of an imaginative grasp on reality, to invent history” (Elnadi and Rifaat 1993, p. 8). Horn 1998 focuses on Brink’s deconstruction of official historiography as mere ideological mythmaking while Lourens similarly examines memory as a flexible medium opposed to the dominant discourse and capable of shirking the ideological limits of totalizing narratives. The possibilities opened up by storytelling for the construction of both individual identity and national history are presented as truly exhilarating.

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Horn, Peter. “I Am Dead: You Cannot Read André Brink’s On the Contrary.” In Writing South Africa: Literature, Apartheid and Democracy, 1970–1995. Edited by Derek Attridge and Rosemary Jolly, 29–42. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511586286.005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                            Reads Brink’s On the Contrary as a subversive appropriation of storytelling/fiction to deconstruct official historiography as a discourse of power and ideological myth-making by interrogating not only the claims but also the silences of official chronicles. Brink’s theme, Horn contends, is the uses of fiction as counter-memory, especially for the marginalized Other. Reprinted in Burger and Szczurek 2013 (cited under Essay Collections, pp. 460–478.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Lourens, Saskia. “The Politics of Remembering and Forgetting in Present-day South Africa: André Brink’s On the Contrary.” In Diaspora and Memory: Figures of Displacement in Contemporary Literature, Arts and Politics. Edited by Marie-Aude Baronian, Stephan Besser, and Yolande Jansen, 175–184. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2006.

                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1163/9789401203807_014Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                              Investigates the reinvention of identity through both private and collective memory. The protagonist, whose identity is eternally under construction, shows that the imaginative construction of multiple memories (rather than the fixation with a past) tells a people’s story. This notion of interdependence and relational identity is insightfully related to ubuntu, “the shared experience of being human” (p. 183).

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Imaginings of Sand (1996)

                                                                                                                                                                                              Brink’s transgressive projects aimed not only to give a voice to the historically marginalized racial Other but also to the equally silenced female Other. With reference to the latter project, Imaginings of Sand is Brink’s demonstration-piece, aimed at a reconstruction of Afrikaner female genealogies as an alternative to the authorized male-authored version of the official history. This novel has become one of Brink’s most discussed works and much of the emphasis has been on its adoption of the technique of magical realism. Wenzel 2000 writing comparatively on Gordimer, Joubert, and Brink’s rendering of a “multi-voiced” South African history highlights Brink’s subversion of official history by using multiple narrators and magical realism. Roberts 2000 appraises Brink’s feminism as manipulative. Horn and Horn 2005 problematizes Brink’s position as a male author appropriating the female voice and renders storytelling as a politically consequential project capable of avoiding the limitations of “History” as a grand narrative. Knapp 2006 avers that Brink hardly escapes those limitations after all as his protagonist’s “story” is polemically indistinguishable from “History.” Samuelson 2006 examines the representation of rape in South African fiction and suggests that the impulse to build the rainbow nation which accounts for that representation is the cost of the violation of women, black and white. Samuelson 2007 discerns in the novel’s female genealogy Brink’s appropriation of the story of the historical Krotoa-Eva, notes women’s complicity in white male power, and contends that Brink’s location of female citizenship in women’s reproductive capacities limits his achievements in restoring women to history. (See Joseph-Vilain 2003 for an approving reading of Brink’s association of history and the en-gendering powers of the female body; cited under Representing the Subaltern: Race, Gender, and Positionality). While Wenzel 2000 explores Brink’s fictionalized meta-history of women, Wenzel 2004 highlights correspondences in the conception and exploration of the postcolonial condition among South African and Latin American novelists. Joseph-Vilain 2007 points in the direction of another American connection: the spatial conception of identity.

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Horn, Anette, and Peter Horn. “It Is Much More Complicated and Much More Fluid than Mere Linearity.” Female Genealogies in André Brink’s Imaginings of Sand.” Tydskrif vir Letterkunde 42.1 (2005): 104–116.

                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.4314/tvl.v42i1.29695Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                They highlight Brink’s rewriting of male history as a female genealogy and explore the implications of male appropriation for female discourse in this novel. They investigate the possibility of complete empathy in a male-authored “female narrative” and of a female narrative that avoids the limitations of the grand narratives of “History” by acknowledging its own status as “story.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Jacobs, J. U. “‘As I Lay Dying’: Facing the Past in the South African Novel after 1990.” Current Writing 24.1 (2012): 72–87.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1080/1013929X.2012.645362Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Examining the recurrent figure of a “stricken and dying old white woman” engaged in personal reminiscences in the context of the national history in post-1990 South African fiction, Jacobs reads this novel primarily as a matrilineal genealogy. He notes how women’s stories counter white, male-authored official colonial and apartheid history.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Joseph-Vilain, Melanié. “Identité et espace et chez André Brink: Looking on Darkness, Rumours of Rain et Imaginings of Sand.” Cycnos 24.2 (2007): 101–118.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Reading Brink’s Looking on Darkness, Rumours of Rain, and Imaginings of Sand, Joseph-Vilain establishes the spatial and familial as pivotal in Brink’s conception of identity. She appraises Brink’s engagement with the theme through first-person narrators’ exploration of their self-identity and notes the significance of the achievement of rootedness only in the post-apartheid novel. An insightful comparison with Tony Morrison’s Song of Solomon locates a source of Brink’s spatial conception of identity. French text.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Knapp, Adrian. The Past Coming to Roost in the Present: Historicising History in Four Post-Apartheid South African Novels. Stuttgart: Ibidem-Verlag, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Reads the novel as a feminist rewriting of history through the agency of stories. Privileging the silences imposed on the Afrikaner woman, it considers the representation of those silences a failure because the female protagonist’s story meant to replace history “ultimately constitutes a new totalizing ‘history’” (p. 51), in need of a new version of its own history (p. 54).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Roberts, Sheila. “Inheritance in Question: The Magical Realist Mode in Afrikaans Fiction.” In Postcolonizing the Commonwealth: Studies in Literature and Culture. Edited by Rowland Smith, 87–97. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Exploring the mode of magical realism in Afrikaans fiction of the South African transition era, Roberts is struck as much by the central improbable feminist genealogy as by the central setting of an “enormous farmhouse of multiple unmatching architectural styles” (p. 94). If she thinks the defamiliarized Cape-Dutch farmhouse foreshadows spatial alterations, she considers Brink’s feminism manipulative.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Samuelson, Meg. “Fictional Representations of Rape in South African Fiction of the Transition.” In Africa, Europe and Post(colonialism): Racism, Migration and Diaspora in African Literatures. Edited by Susan Arndt and Marek Spitczok von Brisinksi, 183–193. Bayreuth, Germany: Pia Thielmann and Eckhard Breitinger, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Considers the primary authorial impulse for representing rape “the construction of a ‘rainbow family’” (p. 190). She contends that for patriotism the violation of women, black and white, is elided, with the black woman, moreover, constructed as “unrapeable,” given that only the white woman’s rape is recognized as establishing mixed bloodlines.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Samuelson, Meg. “Krotoa-Eva: Translator, Traitor, ‘Rainbow Mother.’” In Remembering the Nation, Dismembering Women?: Stories of the South African Transition. Edited by Meg Samuelson and Alison Lockhart, 15–49. Scottsville, South Africa: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Reads this novel as an instance of the domesticating inscriptions of the emblematic figure of Krotoa-Eva in South African imagination and historiography. Arguing the novel’s restoration of women to history and destabilization of the historiography of Afrikaner nationalism, she notes its fall into foundational politics and ideological representation of women and their bodies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Wenzel, Marita. “Crossing Spatial and Temporal Boundaries: Three Women in Search of a Future.” Literator 21.3 (2000): 23–36.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.4102/lit.v21i3.493Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Appraising the role of Gordimer, Joubert, and Brink in the construction of a “multi-voiced” history of South Africa, Wenzel examines Brink’s fictionalized meta-history of women in this novel to trace the protagonist’s attainment of political consciousness. She highlights the use of multiple narrators and magical realism to subvert official history and give a voice to women.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Wenzel, Marita. “The Latin American Connection: History, Memory and Stories in Novels by Isabel Allende and André Brink.” In Storyscapes: South African Perspectives on Literature, Space and Identity. Edited by Heins Viljoen and Chris N. van der Merwe, 71–88. New York: Peter Lang, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Discussing Brink’s post-apartheid and Allende’s fiction to foreground their concern with postcolonial and gender themes, and use of magic realism, Wenzel privileges in this novel Brink’s interrogation of the historical documentation of women and his insight that the protean qualities of a story make it politically consequential and emblematic of the dynamic process of identity construction. Reprinted in Burger and Szczurek 2013 (cited under Essay Collections, pp. 312–339.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Devil’s Valley (1998)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Like On the Contrary, Devil’s Valley is certainly a product of Brink’s planned post-apartheid project of “scouting territory overlooked or forbidden during the years of apartheid” (Elnadi and Rifaat 1993, p. 8, cited under Interviews). The narrative of an isolated Afrikaner community absorbed in an anguished and ultimately doomed struggle to hold onto its old and ghoulish mores bears such an uncanny resemblance to the paradise dreamt of by the founding fathers of apartheid to escape comparison. The parallel between the forgotten Boer community of Devil’s Valley and an isolated apartheid South Africa and the techniques by which Brink both estranges and amplifies the correspondence expectedly remain central in discussions of this novel. Burger 2001 considers the novel an allegory of Afrikaner history and Irlam 2004 concurs, arguing that the ostensible construction of a subaltern Afrikaner identity notwithstanding, its signal import is its vision of prototype Afrikaner history and identity. Ezeliora 2008 emphasizes the aura of the supernatural and the mythical in the novel and sees in the focal Afrikaner community a parody of the absolute distillation of racial exclusiveness and insularity advocated for by the ideologues of apartheid. Joseph-Vilain 2012 and Grzeda 2013 examine Brink’s mode of narration, the former the post-apartheid gothic and the latter magical realism.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Burger, Willie. “The Past Is Another Country: Narrative, Identity and the Achievement of Moral Consciousness in Afrikaans Historiographical Fiction.” Stilet 13.2 (2001): 79–91.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Burger reads this novel as an allegory of Afrikaner history. Underscoring the crucial roles of Biblical narratives in the community’s self-conception and history, Burger draws on the English and Afrikaans versions to examine the role of narratives in identity formation as well the novel’s illustration of Afrikaner search for a new communal and moral identity.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Ezeliora, Osita. “The Fantasia and the Post-Apartheid Imagination: History and Narration in André Brink’s Devil’s Valley.” In Neither East Nor West: Postcolonial Essays on Literature, Culture and Religion. Edited by Kerstin W. Shands, 83–103. Huddinge, Sweden: Södertörns Högskole, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Focuses on Brink’s deployment of magical realism as a “resistance form” uniquely placed to define the “new idiom of a liberated South Africa” (p. 83). Reads the novel as an eloquent post-apartheid parody of the aberrations and primitive closures inaugurated and sustained by the founding fathers of apartheid and the Broederbond.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Grzeda, Paulina. “Magical Realism: A Narrative of Celebration or Disillusionment? South African Literature in the Transition Period.” Ariel 44.1 (2013): 153–183.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1353/ari.2013.0009Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Discusses magic realism as the preeminent narrative mode of South Africa’s transition period, using primarily the fiction of Brink and Zakes Mda for illustration. Devil’s Valley is her exemplar of the mode as a merger of African oral traditions and Eurocentric Western rationalism, given especially the comingling of the living and the dead in the narrative.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Irlam, Shaun. “Unraveling the Rainbow: The Remission of Nation in Post-Apartheid Literature.” South Atlantic Quarterly 103.4 (2004): 695–718.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1215/00382876-103-4-695Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A sober reappraisal of euphoric post-apartheid South Africa, Irlam’s compelling article discerns a trend of introspection and insularity in its literature aimed at unnaming and renaming the groups cast(e) by apartheid policies. Shaun contends that Devil’s Valley, ostensibly negotiating subaltern Afrikaner identity, actually offers a defamiliarized vision of the “mythopoeic version of Afrikaner history and identity” (p. 705).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Joseph-Vilain, Mélanie. “‘Something Hungry and Wild Is Still Calling’: Post-Apartheid Gothic.” Commonwealth Essays and Studies 34.2 (2012): 61–70.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Reads this novel as an example of the South African postcolonial Gothic. Her discussion of Gothic tropes, especially of haunting as a recuperative strategy establishing a link between past and present, demonstrates her thesis that the post-apartheid reconfiguration of Gothic motifs in the novel serves primarily for national redefinition and exorcism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Petzold, Jochen. Re-imagining White Identity by Exploring the Past: History in South African Novels of the 1990s. Trier, Germany: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pointing to Brink’s postmodern interest in the subjectivity of historical sources, Petzold reads this novel as a “case study of Afrikaner identity” (p. 101) and regards the isolated valley community as only “an extreme version of Afrikanerdom” (p. 101). He discerns in the metaphor Brink’s warning against right-wing advocacy of a separate Afrikaner state.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Rights of Desire (2000)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Brink’s first novel to be set fully in post-apartheid South Africa, Rights of Desire, like Gordimer’s The House Gun (1998) and especially Coetzee’s Disgrace (1999) from which it takes its title and with which it engages in a dialogue, focuses on topical national issues such as post-apartheid violence, guilt, justice, and reparations to victims of apartheid as well as how blacks and whites respond to and negotiate the changed circumstances of power. Typically, for Brink in this novel, the past stretches further to accommodate the history of slavery, and the question of freedom is extended beyond race to gender. In an early review of the novel, Barnett 2001 notes the white protagonist’s evasion of the reality of his guilt in apartheid through inaction as well as his inevitable confrontation both with the ghost of his own guilt and that of the 18th-century slave Antje of Bengal which haunts the house. In a review of the Afrikaans version of the novel, Donkermaan, Stynen 2001 considers the novel as arguably the “most intimate” Brink ever wrote yet inextricably linked to contemporary social debates. Crous 2006 recognizes the Afrikaner male as focal in the investigation of the impact of power change in post-apartheid South Africa. Wenzel 2004 offers a generic evaluation of this novel as a slave narrative while Wenzel 2008 focuses on history and identity and appraises the role of architecture in the conception and construction of personality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Barnett, Ursula A. “Review of André Brink. The Rights of Desire.” World Literature Today 75.3/4 (2001): 76.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.2307/40156761Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Invokes Brink’s anti-apartheid role to establish the background of his examination of a white man’s inevitable guilt in apartheid and earlier ill treatment of other races emblematized in the fate of Antje. Highlights his evasion of reality and considers his acknowledgement of responsibility to Others—female and racial—crucial for redressing the past and building the future.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Crous, Marius. “Note on Sex for the Aged Widower”: On André Brink’s The Rights of Desire.” Tydskrif vir Letterkinde 43.2 (2006): 161–173.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Investigates Brink’s depictions of Afrikaner masculinity in The Rights of Desire in the light of Robert Morrel’s theory on masculinity. Crous’s analysis is primarily aimed at how Brink’s elderly male protagonist reifies or deconstructs traditional hegemonic and patriarchal notions of Afrikaner masculinity.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Stynen, Ludo. “Review of André P. Brink. Donkermaan.” World Literature Today 75.3/4 (2001): 123–124.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.2307/40156790Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Considers the novel a “very intimate chronicle of love” that is nonetheless typically indissolubly woven into the fabric of post-apartheid South African life. Stynen notes the element of mystery in the narrative and reflects on its use of the diary form and the protagonist’s growth to a sense of responsibility.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Wenzel, Marita. “Re-writing the ‘Slave Narrative’: Rayda Jacob’s The Slave Book and André Brink’s The Rights of Desire.” English in Africa 31.1 (2004): 91–103.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Highlights the features of the original African American incarnation of the genre and compares that form and its South African example, using the two novels. Wenzel remarks on Brink’s place as a white male author of a female narrative and reads his novel as a colonizer’s confession aimed as a tribute to the voices silenced by history.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Wenzel, Marita. “Houses, Cellars and Caves in Selected Novels from Latin America and South Africa.” In Literary Landscapes: From Modernism to Postcolonialism. Edited by Attie Lange, et al., 143–160. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1057/9780230227712_9Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Noting the signal place of “houses as symbols of origin and their association with history and identity” (p. 144), Wenzel relates architecture to personality and remarks on the condemnation of slaves and women to cellars and caves. The transformation of the protagonist’s attitude toward history’s racial/female Other is considered pivotal in his assumption of the responsibility to reconstruct history.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Other Side of Silence (2002)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Many of Brink’s most important concerns in his post-apartheid fiction constellate in this novel. He explores the particular brutality of German colonialism in South West Africa to foreground the extreme violence at the heart of the imperial project. His white female protagonist, Hanna X, especially foregrounds the twofold marginalization of the woman: her symbolic surname X a telltale of her exclusion from documented history and her excised tongue emblematic of her voicelessness. Brink’s interest in alternative modes of narration derived from both indigenous African forms and Afrikaans ghost stories plays out too in this novel where he ascribes healing powers to African storytelling. Coller 2005 investigates the therapeutic powers of narration. Kossew 2005 and Pimentel Biscaia 2012 are both interested in Brink’s transgressive project of giving voice to the woman, with the former also probing the implications of a male-authored feminist text.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Coller, H. P. van. “Anderkant die Stilte (André P. Brink) en die Vierwerking van Trauma.” Tydskrif vir Letterkunde 42.1 (2005): 117–133.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Appraises antithetical views on the therapeutic powers of literary texts to heal traumas, and highlights the healing power of narratives. Using The Other Side of Silence for illustration, Coller avers that the narrative of a traumatic past provides both an individual and collective means of survival. Afrikaans text.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Kossew, Sue. “Giving Voice: Narrating Silence, History and Memory in André Brink’s The Other Side of Silence and Before I Forget.” Tydskrif vir Letterkunde 42.1 (2005): 134–146.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.4314/tvl.v42i1.29697Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Reads The Other Side of Silence and Before I Forget to examine the paradox in Brink’s voicing of female silences and violations. Observing his embodiment of the appropriative propensities he critiques, Kossew acknowledges that Brink enacts his awareness of the limits of his transgressive projects in the two novels in a manner hardly discernible in his preceding fiction.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Pimentel Biscaia, Maria Sofia. “Colluding Strokes: Imperialistic Brutality and Affection in André Brink’s The Other Side of Silence.” In Intercultural Crossings: Conflict, Memory and Identity. Edited by Lénia Marques, Maria Sofia Pimentel Biscaia, and Glória Bastos, 139–150. Brussels: Peter Lang, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Examines the collusion of brutality and desire at the heart of the imperialistic project and equally investigates silence of both the colonized and female Other as a crucial metaphor in the domain of phallocentric hegemony. It also highlights how colonial violence engenders a resistant community of its racial and female malcontents.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Before I Forget (2004)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The blurb description of the Secker & Warburg edition of the novel is apt: “Erotic, searingly honest, elegiac and profoundly moving, Before I Forget is the history of a life set against the history of a nation, and the history of a transforming love.” Eroticism and the intersections between the life of its protagonist and the history of his nation have remained pivotal in scholarship on this novel. Kossew 2005 (cited under the Other Side of Silence (2002)) draws attention to the real danger of the implication of a work in the appropriations it condemns. Tendrel 2010 examines Brink’s creation of a postcolonial South African Don Juan, paying attention to both his retention of basic attributes of the myth and his originality in naturalizing the European myth in South Africa. Worsfold 2010 explores the centrality of desire in the novel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Tendrel, Aristie. “The Myth of Don Juan in André Brink’s Before I Forget..” Internet: Alizés 33 (2010): 191–204.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Notes the novel’s use of South Africa’s historical past and Europe’s literary past in its postcolonial appropriation of Don Juan as an archetype of Western love. Retaining its original features, Brink’s post-apartheid version of the myth is shown to emphasize the hero’s awareness of mortality and “his eroticisation of revolt and politicisation of Eros” (p. 1).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Worsfold, Brian. “Spur or Pitfall? Aged Men’s Desire in Philip Roth’s Everyman (2006), André Brink’s Before I Forget (2004), and Zakes Mda’s The Whale Caller (2005).” In Flaming Embers: Literary Testimonies on Ageing and Desire. Edited by Nela Bureu Ramos, 187–203. Bern: Peter Lang, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Reads this novel as “a testament to desire” (p. 195) and sees the elderly writer-protagonist as Brink’s surrogate. Arguing that desire defies mortality, and is for Brink a creative act akin to spontaneous narration and creative writing, Worsfold also notes its violent nature and so links it to subliminal male aggression and warfare.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Praying Mantis (2005)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Brink’s “Note” at the end of this novel is painstaking to set out in details the historical sources he drew on: “Although the novel as it stands is fiction, the outline is based on a true history. References to Cupido Cockroach under his Dutch name Kupido Kakkerlak are scattered through numerous documents of and on the London Missionary Society in South Africa, but the most detailed account of his life to date is ‘The Life and Times of Cupido Kakkerlak’ by V. C. Malherbe in Journal of South African History 20.3 (1979).” Typically, Brink interrogates the ontology of history, and ascribes to human life a mystery amenable only to the power of the imagination which he likens to memory: “However, it is precisely the reading of such a well-documented account that makes one realize the extent to which the enigma of another’s life can only be grasped through the imagination (which is no less reliable than memory” (p. 277). Scholarship on this novel focuses on the constant interplay between history and myth, reality and fantasy and between Western and indigenous African modes of perception as well as the techniques of Brink’s syncreticism. Harrison 2005 is a perceptive review that notes Brink’s blending of history and myth in the novel. Viljoen 2007 investigates the novel’s compelling syncreticism and figuration of the tension between the sacred and the luminal. Anker 2008 similarly highlights the novel’s fixation with such concepts as liminality and hybridization while acknowledging the continuing reliance of identity as a tool for political engagement. Lourens 2010 examines the novel as a myth of South African postcolonial present. Roubaix 2014 attempts a stereoscopic reading of the English and Afrikaans versions of the novel as a “total text” and highlights how Brink uses magical realism in the work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Anker, Johan. “Magiese Realisme en die Religieuse in Bidsprinkaan.” Tydskrif vir Letterkunde 45.2 (2008): 5–19.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.4314/tvl.v45i2.29827Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Examines the magical realist features of the Afrikaans version of the text. Focusing on the interweaving of myth and history, liminality and hybridity in the postcolonial context, and especially the syncretic merger of Christianity and indigenous Khoi religion, Anker highlights the role of magical realism in reappraising the development of Christianity in colonial territories. Afrikaans text.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Harrison, John M. “Suspended Between Heaven and Hell: Review of Praying Mantis by André Brink.” The Telegraph (4 September 2005).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Observing that though based on a true story the novel is narrated as a myth “unravelling as a series of parables,” Harrison considers it a work about both apartheid South Africa and the Cape in the 18th and 19th centuries. He finds Brink’s magical realism astute but his handling of the historical often unconvincing.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Lourens, Saskie. “Moving Identities: Mythology and Metaphor in André Brink’s Praying Mantis.” In Representation Matters: (Re)articulating Collective Identities in a Postcolonial World. Edited by Anette Hoffmann and Esther Peeren, 253–268. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2010.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1163/9789042028463_016Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Invoking Bathes, Derrida, Young, and others to articulate a nuanced concept of myth and metaphor, Lourens reads the novel primarily as a myth capable of disabling and replacing the conventional opposition between African mythology and Western rationality. Contends that the historical and mythical aspects of the protagonist’s narrative demonstrate the continuing construction and reinvention of identities.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Roubaix, Lelanie de. “The Multiple Possibilities of Interpretation in Products of Bilingual Writing: André Brink’s Praying Mantis and Bidsprinkaan as a Total Text.” Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus 43 (2014): 43–67.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.5842/43-0-212Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Exemplifies the concept of bilingual writing by a stereoscopic reading of the English and Afrikaans versions. Argues the multiple possibilities of interpretation opened up by Brink’s use of two languages (given especially Brink’s deployment in both versions of magical realism) and the two versions’ formation of a “total text” that challenges traditional concepts of “writing” and “translation.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Viljoen, Hein. “Journeys from the Liminal to the Sacred in the Interior of South Africa.” In Beyond the Threshold: Explorations of Liminality in Literature. Edited by Hein Viljoen and Chris N. Van der Merwe, 193–208. New York: Peter Lang, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This absorbing work focuses on the exploration of the tension between the sacred and the liminal as well as the synthesis between Christianity and African religions. Extreme isolation, abjection, and shedding are treated as pivotal in the protagonist’s transformation from the liminal to the sacred, and the turning of the Khoi god, Heitsi-Eibib, into God’s son as illustrative of hybridization.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Other Lives (2008)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Other Lives is made up of three novellas, The Blue Door (which had been published earlier in 2007 as a separate volume), Mirror, and Appassionata. The three, however, are linked by several factors including characterization and themes. Highlighting these facts in a review of the novel, Egan 2008 draws attention to the replication of typical themes of the Brink oeuvre as well the possible influence of Kafka and Borges. Similarly in another review, Mishan 2008 stresses Brink’s use of Kafkaesque surreal fabulation. Anker 2009 focuses on the novel’s postmodernism, emphasizing the use of the mise en abyme technique.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Anker, Johan. “Mise en abyme en Ander lewens van André P. Brink.” LitNet Akademies 6.2 (2009): 157–176.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            With his point of departure as Dallenbach’s The Mirror in the Text, Anker explores Brink’s use of the technique of the mise en abyme in Other Lives. He focuses on the text’s intertextuality and self-reflexivity, and accounts for the unity of the fragmented text by examining Brink’s deployment of leitmotivs. Afrikaans text. Reprinted in Burger and Szczurek 2013 (cited under Essay Collections), pp. 479–516.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Egan, Jennifer. “Second Skin: André Brink Furthers His Exploration of Racial Tension in South Africa.” Bookforum: The New York Times (21 October 2008): 25.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In this review of what she calls Brink’s trilogy of novellas—The Blue Door, Mirror, and Appassionata—with loosely connected protagonists, Egan notes the replication of the themes of Brink’s earlier fiction but considers his central conceit the authentic human response to fundamental change. She remarks on the possible influence of Kafka and Borges.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Mishan, Ligaya. “Apartheid of the Mind: Review of André Brink’s Other Lives.” Sunday Book Review (7 September 2008): 11.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Noting Brink’s movement toward “mythography” in his post-apartheid fiction, Mishan characterizes Other Lives as a “collection of surreal fables” linked by themes and characters though lacking an overarching plot. Considers the work’s main flaw its “plodding prose.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Philida (2012)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Like several of Brink’s more recent novels, Brink’s last, Philida, is yet to attract much serious scholarship. Some of the reviews, however, have been quite perceptive and arguably establish the coordinates for more rigorous future scholarly engagements. The focus ranges from miscegenation, intermingling of power, race and gender, and the author’s revelation of familial complicity in South Africa’s slave past. Vlies 2012 calls it a novel of slavery and freedom and emphasizes its concern with miscegenation. Dovey 2013 discerns in the work Brink’s imaginative reconstruction of South Africa’s earliest history to account for the later evils of its race relations. Flanery 2015 sees in the novel a submerged legacy of master-slave relations and notes how the intertwining of power and race perverts white owners and dehumanizes blacks/slaves. Bothma 2015 is a postcolonial reading of the novel which emphasizes the ambivalences of the master-slave relationship.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Bothma, Mathilda. “Ambivalensie in die verhouding tussen slaaf en meester in Philida deur André P Brink.” Tydskrif vir Letterkunde 52.1 (2015): 45–56.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.4314/tvl.v52i1.4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  References primarily Bill Ashcroft and Homi Bhabha theories on “place” and “displacement,” and “ambivalence,” respectively, to offer a postcolonial reading of the Afrikaans version of this novel, especially with regard to the complications and inconsistencies of the master–servant relationship. The novel is also critically located in the Brink oeuvre. Afrikaans text.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Dovey, Ceridwen. “Review of Philida by André Brink.” The New York Times/Sunday Book Review (17 February 2013): P.BR12. [p. 12]

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Categorizes this novel among Brink’s historical novels probing South Africa’s slave past to throw light on contemporary experience, and likens its use of multiple narrators to A Chain of Voices. Dovey raises crucial questions about representing the racial/female Other and queries the assignation of pidgin-speak/slave-think to the protagonist while not equally delineating other characters to signal social status.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Flanery, Patrick. “Review of Philida by André Brink.” The Telegraph (7 February 2015).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Notes the compact between this novel and A Chain of Voices, and highlights its exploration of the collusion of power and race to pervert white slave owners and dehumanize the enslaved. It also sets in relief Brink’s constant dramatization of whites’ compromised claims to racial purity and women’s struggle against the hierarchies of race and gender.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Vlies, André w Van Der. “Review of Philida by André Brink.” The Independent (4 October 2012).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Considers the novel a recuperative project perceptively engaged with a long history of creolization at the Cape. Highlighting the blurring of southern Africa’s racial boundaries, he argues the absurdity of Afrikaners’ later claims to purity, given the primal intermingling of the races. Vlies notes the element of familial complicity in the narrative and calls the novel uneven.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Drama

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Brink’s drama oeuvre is truly considerable and astonishing in its diversity and preoccupations. Comparatively, though, his plays have been far more underexplored than his prose fiction. Brink published original plays, in addition to translations and adaptations. His plays include: Die band om ons harte (The band around our hearts, 1956), Ceasar (1956), his Bagasie (Baggage, 1965) trilogy consisting of Die koffer (The suitcase), Die trommel (The trunk) and Die tas (The bag), Elders mooiweer en warm (Elsewhere fair weather and warm, 1965), Die verhoor (The trial, 1970) and Die rebelle (The rebels, 1970), Afrikaners is plesierig (Afrikaners are happy-go-lucky, 1973), Pavane (1974), his adaptation of an Afrikaans play Die heks (by C. Louis Leipoldt) into Die hamer van die hekse (The hammer of the witches, 1976) and the Toiings trilogy (Mikro) into Toiings op die langpad (Toiings—Rags—on the long road, 1979) and Die jogger (The jogger, 1997). His translations and adaptations of various European plays include: Shakespeare (Richard III, 1969; Romeo and Juliet, 1975; Comedy of errors—Kinkels in die kabels, 1971), Henrik Ibsen (Hedda Gabler, 1972), J. M Synge (Playboy of the western world—Bobaas van die Boendoe, 1993) and Anton Chekhov (The seagull—Die seemeeu, 1972). Brink’s Die Jogger won the Hertzog Prize for Drama, the highest prize for literature in Afrikaans, and has attracted some critical attention. Jaarsveld 2002 (listing the titles above) traces Brink’s development as a dramatist, paying attention to his experimentation with the theater of the absurd under the influence of Ionesco and Becket in such plays as Bagasie, the trilogy consisting of Die koffer, Die trommel, and Die tas; his resistance and existentialist drama with plays like Elders mooiweer en warm, Die verhoor, and Die rebelle; and his translations of various European playwrights as well as his resistance plays. Coetser 1998 examines Brink as a postcolonial playwright while Coetser 2001 investigates the presiding theme of identity formation in Afrikaans theater and Brink’s debunking of a racially exclusive notion of Afrikaner volksidentiteit: identity of the chosen people. Louw 2004 studies Die Jogger as a work based on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, staging the themes of guilt, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Coetser, J. L. “Afrikaans Theatre: A Centre Moving?” Alternation 5.2 (1998): 207–227.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Discerning varying forms of postcolonialism in Afrikaans theater evolving from historical processes, Coetser locates Brink’s drama in the category, subversive postcolonialism. Linking this to “body politics” (p. 224), he reads the bottled excised tongue of the black character Vusi in Die jogger as a stage metaphor of the silenced Other, making the emblem resonant with Brink’s fiction.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Coetser, Johan. “Afrikaans Theatre: Reflections of Identity.” Alternation 8.1 (2001): 81–101.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Examines representations of identity in Afrikaans theater and invokes Brink as playwright and drama critic. Regarding the deconstruction of social myths as a preeminent motif of Afrikaans theater since 1960, Coetser reads Brink’s play Die jogger/The Jogger (1997) as a refutation of traditional Afrikaner notions of patriarchal power and nationalism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Jaarsveld, Anthea van. “Die sentrale tematiek in die drama-oeuvre van André P. Brink – 1956–1997.” Stilet 14.2 (2002).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Examines the foremost thematic preoccupation of Brink’s drama from 1956–1997, discerning five phases of his development ranging from traditional-historical drama, absurdist drama, commitment and existentialism, translations and adaptations of various European dramatists, and a fifth phase comprising resistance plays. Central to all these phases is a concern with the individual mired in existential crises. Afrikaans text.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Kruger, Alet. “‘Bless Thee, Bottom, Bless Thee! Thou Art Translated!’ The Shakespearean Phase in South Africa: A Socio-cultural Perspective.” Journal of Literary Studies 12.4 (1996): 408–428.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Investigating the history of Shakespeare translations in South Africa, and arguing that the literary and theatrical systems of the receiving cultures determine whether the preferred translation was “page” or “stage,” Kruger briefly examines Brink’s adaptation of Comedy of Errors, Kinkels inni kabel. Calls it the first truly stage Shakespeare translation in Afrikaans, and highlights Brink’s anti-apartheid innovative carnivalesque elements.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Louw, Salomi. “South African Theatre and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” In Experience and Identity in Recent South African Literature: Proceeds of an International Colloquium, Organised by the Department of English, University of Groningen, The Netherlands, 10 January 2003. Edited by Margriet Van der Waal and Helen Wilcox, 9–20. Groningen, The Netherlands: University of Groningen, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Discusses Brink’s Die Jogger/The Jogger with two other plays about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The account based on the analysis of both the premier performance and textual study highlights the power of Brink’s psychoanalytic examination of the impact of apartheid violence on its perpetrators and the healing power of forgiveness and reconciliation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Polemical and Scholarly Writing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Apart from his distinguished and prolific writing career, Brink was also a highly respected and astute literary scholar and critic. His work in this regard is found in diverse reputable literary journals. He equally wrote a good number of highly regarded books of literary criticism in addition to numerous polemical articles and speeches meant for varied occasions, selections of which he published in book form as collections of articles. This section has entries of some of Brink’s scholarly and polemical writing as well as several important studies of them. Brink 1983 examines the responsibilities of the writer, especially the Afrikaner writer, under apartheid while Brink 1996b extends that discussion to the darkest period of the apartheid era and suggests new forms of literary responses to the condition of the New South Africa. Brink 1996a is devoted to Shakespeare, one of the several writers Brink venerated and drew on in his entire writing career, and Brink 1998, on the other hand, is a generic examination of the novel. Coetzee 1990 is a powerful appraisal of Brink’s writing on the South African censor and Freudian account of the mutual antagonism between the writer and the tyrant. Van Herk 1996 responds to Brink’s metaphor of the writer as mapmaker while Joseph-Vilain 2009 appraises Brink’s theory of the novel in the light of his own practice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Brink, André. Mapmakers: Writing in a State of Siege. London: Faber and Faber, 1983.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A collection of sixteen essays/speeches primarily on the role of the writer in a state of political and moral siege, in addition to an introduction that sets the background of Afrikaner dissidence and his own rebirth. Written between 1967 and 1982, the articles and speeches are essential reading to locate Brink’s work in context.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Brink, André. Destabilising Shakespeare. Grahamstown, South Africa: Shakespeare Society of South Africa, 1996a.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A collection of essays on Shakespeare derived from conference papers delivered between 1994 and 1995. Brink aims to reveal “strategies and devices” in the plays examined through which the ostensible “constants” of the Elizabethan and Jacobean world are interrogated or subverted. They include: kingship, power, identity, and gender.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Brink, André. Reinventing a Continent: Writing and Politics in South Africa 1982–1995. London: Secker & Warburg, 1996b.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        With a preface by Nelson Mandela, this collection of seventeen articles has a historical provenance that spans the period immediately after Mapmakers to about a year after democratization. His concerns range especially from the cultural to the political, privileging the writer’s evolving responsibilities and mode of response in a society in transition.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Brink, André. The Novel: Language and Narrative from Cervantes to Calvino. London: Macmillan, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Examines fifteen classic novels from Cervantes’s Don Quixote to Calvinino’s If on a Winter Night a Traveller to contend that the foremost virtues of novels are language and self-reflexivity. It argues therefore that the metafictional nature of the novel is in reality generic rather than a distinctive feature of postmodernism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Coetzee, J. M. “André Brink and the Censor.” Research in African Literatures 21.3 (1990): 59–74.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Basically a Freudian critique of Brink’s writing on censorship that considers the mutual antagonism between the writer and the tyrant, marked by the dynamic of blaming, revulsion, and envy, a consequence of a complicated paranoid fixation with authority. Coetzee interrogates the binaries “powerful state” and “weak writer,” “truthful poet,” and “lying tyrant” to problematize the relationship.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Joseph-Vilain, Mélanie. “‘First Hand Becomes Second Hand’: André Brink’s A Dry White Season.” Commonwealth Essays and Studies 32.1 (2009): 98–109.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Arguing the importance of Brink’s scholarly writing as crucial statements on literature and politics and as insightful for his own fiction, Joseph-Vilain appraises Brink’s contention in this text that novels are generically about language and are inherently self-reflexive. Calls Brink’s demonstration of generic constants in the novel, especially its self-reflexivity, “fairly convincing.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Van Herk, Aritha. “The Map’s Temptation or the Search for a Secret Book.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 31.1 (1996): 128–136.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Critiques Huggan’s endorsement of Brink’s insights into cartographic discourse by contending that Brink’s metaphor of the writer as a mapmaker (capable not only of “reproducing the real” but also of facilitating the emergence of a better world) reifies the illusion of the mappability of the world and so exemplifies the very temptation and entrapment of that discourse.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Memoir

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Brink told Getz: “All my books are very autobiographical, I cannot write otherwise” (Getz 1989, p. 10, cited under Interviews). In his fiction, he weaves the experience of his life and times into the substance of the lives of his fictional characters and some apparently indeed function as his surrogate. Brink’s polemical writing equally draws on his life and beliefs and occasionally functions as his intellectual biography. Brink’s memoir, A Fork in the Road, especially dramatizes the compact between his life and fiction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Brink, André. A Fork in the Road: A Memoir. London: Harvill Secker, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The then seventy-three-year-old writer’s narrative of his life, and the circumstances of his anguished struggle against a relentless racist system. It highlights his growth and goals as a writer in South Africa, interlacing the major political experiences that inspired his fiction with more personal reminiscences. Foregrounds also his sober appraisal of the “Rainbow Nation.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Interviews

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Brink was a frequently interviewed writer and demonstrated to be an enthusiastic interviewee. It was a medium that served him the purpose of annotating his fiction and clarifying his political commitment. He was explicit in his interviews in delineating both his artistic as well as intellectual and political backgrounds, to highlight his artistic goals, and even to speculate on the probable new directions that his work may take. He was also on occasion fiercely polemical in his political pronouncements. Ross 1982 is a particularly insightful interview with comments that range from his experience of growing up as an Afrikaner in apartheid South Africa to his writing. Elnadi and Rifaat 1993 dwell on Brink’s life, his writing, and South African politics. Higgins 1999 like many Brink interviews highlights his existentialist background and the unique place of hybridity in South Africa. Mengel and Orantes 2010 focuses mainly on the theme of trauma and healing in South African writing and comes full circle with Brink’s observation of his self-writing having therapeutic and traumatic consequences. Penalver 2015 focuses on his creative process in two languages, English and Afrikaans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Elnadi, Bahgat, and Adel Rifaat. “Interview: André Brink Talks to Bahgat Elnadi and Adel Rifaat.” The Unesco Courier (1993): 4–9.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Discusses the factors that led to his rebirth as a dissident Afrikaner in spite of his conservative background: the Sharpeville massacre, the experience of France, especially the contact with blacks and Camus’s work. He notes how his African National Congress (ANC) experience inspired his optimism about democratic South Africa and the theme of violence in An Act of Terror.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Getz, Arlene. “André Brink’s State of Emergency.” Sunday Age (10 September 1989): 10.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Brief but revealing for its insights on States of Emergency. Acknowledged both the inevitable conjunction between art and politics in apartheid South Africa and the peculiar correspondences between the circumstances of his life and the love experience explored in the novel.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Higgins, John. “What You Never Knew You Knew: An Interview with André Brink.” Pretexts 8.1 (1999): 7–15.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Brink privileges the necessity in South Africa to appreciate cultural complementarities and hybridization. Foregrounding his assumption of political responsibility in his writing, he stresses the impact of existentialism on his work and acknowledges the compact between his fiction and his academic vocation. His comments on Devil’s Valley are insightful.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Krog, Antjie. “The Writing of Desire.” In Mail & Guardian Bedside Book 2001. Edited by David Macfarlane, 126–130. Milpark, South Africa: M&G Books, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Primarily on Rights of Desire but also comments on bilingual writing, African magical realism, and includes Krog’s informed annotations and biographical insights into Brink’s life and the persecution his convictions brought him. Brink dwells on the relationship between Rights and Disgrace, his protagonist’s development of a conscience, and Brink’s deeper interest in the fear of aging than in race.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Mengel, Ewald, and Karin Orantes. “Articulating the Inarticulate: An Interview with André Brink.” In Trauma, Memory and Narrative in South Africa: Interviews. Edited by Ewald Mengel, Michela Borzaga, and Karin Ornates, 3–18. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Beginning with the fixation on “trauma” and related concepts like “healing” in contemporary South African literature, Brink speaks on the provenance and powers of literature, its proclivity to imagine the real, his attachment to the land, African storytelling. Typically, he notes the concerns of his own writing and enthuses on how writing his memoir was both therapeutic and traumatic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Penalver, Maria Recuenco. “Encounter with André Brink: Looking on . . . Self Translation.” Research in African Literatures 46.2 (2015): 146–156.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.2979/reseafrilite.46.2.146Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Apart from a few general questions at the outset, this interview is focused on the phenomenon of self-translation. Brink associates translation with “faithfulness” to the original work, but appraises his “self-translation” as a creative process. His relation of the practice of “self-translation” to the question of identity is illuminating.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Ross, Jean W. “Brink, André (Phillipus).” In Contemporary Authors. Vol. 104. Frances C. Locher, 54–59. Detroit: Gale, 1982.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Part of the Contemporary Authors entry on Brink. Brink discusses his work and South African literature generally, underscores the siege in which the South African writer works, stressing the deeper challenges faced by black writers under apartheid. He acknowledges his indebtedness to French literature and comments on the delights of writing simultaneously in English and Afrikaans.

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