States of emergency and the apartheid legal order in South African fiction

Morton, Stephen (2010) States of emergency and the apartheid legal order in South African fiction. Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 46, (5), 491-503. (doi:10.1080/17449855.2010.517054).


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This essay considers how narratives of emergency in apartheid South Africa are figured in Richard Rive's Emergency (1964) and Emergency Continued (1990). Beginning with a discussion of the role of emergency legislation in apartheid South Africa, the essay proceeds to consider how the rhetoric and force of the apartheid legal order is both foregrounded and contested in Rive's fiction. The essay considers in particular the ways in which Rive's fiction explores the constraints placed on writing during a state of emergency, and the limitations of protest writing as a literary paradigm. It concludes with a brief discussion of Zoë Wicomb's David's Story (2001), and asks how literary narratives can guard against the continuation of state violence in the context of the new South Africa.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1080/17449855.2010.517054
ISSNs: 1744-9863 (electronic)
1744-9855 (print)
Keywords: south africa, state of emergency, apartheid, biopolitics, richard rive, zoë wicomb
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Humanities > English
ePrint ID: 184675
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 06 May 2011 10:22
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:37

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