Placing the farm novel : space and place in female identity formation in Olive Schreiner's The story of an African farm and J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace
Smit, Susanna Johanna
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The farm in South Africa is an ideologically laden but also ambivalent concept, associated with pastoral ideals and the hierarchy of the colonial past; but also with fear and insecurity. The representation of the farm in the South African farm novel has been subjected to larger processes of development, dissolution and replacement in accordance with changing socio-historical contexts. Accordingly, the farm novel's contribution to the conceptualization of space, place and identity within the South African and postcolonial literary context, needs to be traced and related to the pastoral tradition as well as its mutations and deviations. This dissertation investigates how Olive Schreiner's The Story of an African Farm (1883) and J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace (1999) as anti-pastoral farm novels, in different ways and degrees, rewrite and transcend the pastoral farm novel tradition by rejecting and subverting the inherent ideological assumptions and pastoral values exemplified by this genre. Specific focus is given to the role of space and place in the identity formation of the female protagonists and the conceptualization thereof in a postcolonial society.
- Humanities