The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Violent southern spaces: myth, memory, and the body in literatures of South Africa and the American South

Violent southern spaces: myth, memory, and the body in literatures of South Africa and the American South
Violent southern spaces: myth, memory, and the body in literatures of South Africa and the American South
‘Violent Southern Spaces’ examines the narratives, archetypes and metaphors of memory, myth and the body that writers from South Africa and the American South have used to contest histories of racial oppression and segregation. In so doing, it seeks to identify significant transnational interactions and connections between the aesthetic forms, politics and histories of literary texts from South Africa and the United States. By analysing texts and situations that are both analogous and singular, this thesis utilizes Jean-Luc Nancy’s Inoperative Community as well as Sam Durrant’s Postcolonial Narrative and the Work of Mourning to depict how works of literature interrupt Southern and South African forms of community as well as the myths upon which they are founded.

Chapter One examines the tension between the narrative and anti-narrative dimensions of trauma in William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! and Zoë Wicomb’s David’s Story and considers the conditions under which cultural trauma not only exposes the subject as a singularity, but also serves to create community via a collective identification with a mythic past. In their focus on the interruption of community as well as the disruption of the trauma narrative, these texts help us to better understand how certain myths have come to define the nation or region.

Chapter Two considers the manner in which community is enacted through departure in Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Achmat Dangor’s Bitter Fruit. Depicted as either a movement towards a more traditional notion of community and communion, or an exposure of the limits of community, there is a certain type of freedom evidenced in such departures—a freedom intimately connected to the being-in-common of community.

Finally, in Chapter Three Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina and Marlene van Niekerk’s Triomf are compared in order to demonstrate how both writers interrogate the excessive accessibility that has come to define the poor white community whilst also writing communities akin to Nancy’s ‘community without unity’. This chapter further examines how both texts depict community as an active, interruptive idea, a continual unworking of totalising and exclusionary myths of collectivity upon which community (and the nation) is formed.
Greenfield, Denise Anne
a4bdab50-2ea9-4264-843f-4aeb9d169985
Greenfield, Denise Anne
a4bdab50-2ea9-4264-843f-4aeb9d169985
Morton, Stephen
3200c49e-fcfa-4088-9168-1d6998266ec1
McDonald, Gail
07e4eb8a-d792-467a-b5a7-a73ed461fa5c

(2013) Violent southern spaces: myth, memory, and the body in literatures of South Africa and the American South. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 258pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

‘Violent Southern Spaces’ examines the narratives, archetypes and metaphors of memory, myth and the body that writers from South Africa and the American South have used to contest histories of racial oppression and segregation. In so doing, it seeks to identify significant transnational interactions and connections between the aesthetic forms, politics and histories of literary texts from South Africa and the United States. By analysing texts and situations that are both analogous and singular, this thesis utilizes Jean-Luc Nancy’s Inoperative Community as well as Sam Durrant’s Postcolonial Narrative and the Work of Mourning to depict how works of literature interrupt Southern and South African forms of community as well as the myths upon which they are founded.

Chapter One examines the tension between the narrative and anti-narrative dimensions of trauma in William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! and Zoë Wicomb’s David’s Story and considers the conditions under which cultural trauma not only exposes the subject as a singularity, but also serves to create community via a collective identification with a mythic past. In their focus on the interruption of community as well as the disruption of the trauma narrative, these texts help us to better understand how certain myths have come to define the nation or region.

Chapter Two considers the manner in which community is enacted through departure in Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Achmat Dangor’s Bitter Fruit. Depicted as either a movement towards a more traditional notion of community and communion, or an exposure of the limits of community, there is a certain type of freedom evidenced in such departures—a freedom intimately connected to the being-in-common of community.

Finally, in Chapter Three Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina and Marlene van Niekerk’s Triomf are compared in order to demonstrate how both writers interrogate the excessive accessibility that has come to define the poor white community whilst also writing communities akin to Nancy’s ‘community without unity’. This chapter further examines how both texts depict community as an active, interruptive idea, a continual unworking of totalising and exclusionary myths of collectivity upon which community (and the nation) is formed.

PDF
__userfiles.soton.ac.uk_Users_slb1_mydocuments_Thesis_Denise A Greenfield_For Degree_25 February 2014.pdf - Other
Download (2MB)

More information

Published date: 1 November 2013
Organisations: University of Southampton, English

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 366606
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/366606
PURE UUID: 986c87bf-877d-443d-a515-acfd2858a95d

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 28 Oct 2014 13:43
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 02:09

Export record

Contributors

Author: Denise Anne Greenfield
Thesis advisor: Stephen Morton
Thesis advisor: Gail McDonald

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×