Cambridge History of South African Literature


“For the reader in Benoni, and the reader in Beijing” | UK launch of the The Cambridge History of South African Literature | Friday 3 February 2012 | University of York(LitNet).

Speaking with Many Voices | The Cambridge History of South African Literature Cape Town launch | Tuesday 13 March 2012 | Book Lounge (LitNet).

Transcript of opening address by Njabulo Ndebele.

The Many Voices of South Africa's Past David Attwell, Mail & Guardian (2 March 2012).

...As the editors, we hope that readers will be able to trace a path through the book, following experts in the field, and build a respectable impression of a particular literature but also that they will find many useful distractions along the way. Canonised figures such as Herbert Dhlomo, NP van Wyk Louw and Roy Campbell are juxtaposed as modernists of the same period. Commercially successful imperial adventure fiction published in London is placed alongside the painstaking growth of Afrikaans and African-language literatures. And so on, with many more examples: continuity is challenged and invigorated by contiguity. In this perspective, the blind spots and failures of mutual influence are as ­telling as the successes.

For some years now literary historiography has flourished in the relative absence of literary history. Which is to say, the question of how to do literary history and whether it could or should be done at all seemed more interesting than actually rolling up the sleeves. This is not surprising: theory always flourishes when empirical research loses its way, or loses confidence. But who was the historiography reaching?...Instead of more historiography, what the field needs now is narrative... [Continue reading]


‘Anodyne’ Cambridge history still hits the mark - Graham Riach | 23 July 2012 (SLiPnet).

Many literatures, few readers: The end of SA literary culture? - Nedine Moonsamy | Mail and Guardian Literary Festival | 2 September 2012 (SLiPnet).

Toward an inclusive literary history: Three scholars review The Cambridge History of South African Literature - Helize van Vuuren, Andries Oliphant and Linda Kwatsha | 26 September 2012 (LitNet).