Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Tydskrif vir Letterkunde]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=0041-476X20090002&lang=en vol. 46 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Wat woorde beteken</b>: <b>'n voorwoord</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2009000200001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en <![CDATA[<b>Zen Communist</b>: <b>Breyten Breytenbach's view from underground</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2009000200002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In an interview after his release from prison, Breyten Breytenbach describes himself, at the time he became involved in underground politics, as a Zen Communist. He returns occasionally to this interaction of Marxist ideas of social revolution and Buddhist ideas of non-attachment, but never attempts to explain the resulting synthesis systematically. Indeed, for Breytenbach, being a Zen Communist is to resist systematic positions, to accept contradiction as a constant source of surprise and invention disruptive of all systematic thought. This paper examines how this interaction of Marxist and Buddhist ideas and practices has informed Breytenbach's politics in three contexts: his initial exploration of a radical philosophy of history in his poetry ("Bruin reisbrief", "Brown travel letter"); his role in the underground politics of Okhela in the 1970s; his reflections on politics and social change in his prison and prison-related writings. <![CDATA[<b><i>True Confessions, End Papers</i></b><b> and the Dakar conference</b>: <b>a review of the political arguments</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2009000200003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en As a social critic Breyten Breytenbach published two books of political commentary and political analysis during the mid-1980s without the opportunity of engaging with commentators at home. While True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist is part autobiography and part searing comment on prison life, End Papers is a more detached dissection of the major political and cultural issues confronting South Africa. Breytenbach was now one of the respected international voices on the political crisis in South Africa. The violent break-up of apartheid had changed Breytenbach's social criticism. In the place of the earlier rejection and denunciation had come a willingness to engage and reason with his audience. The Dakar conference of 1987, which Breytenbach co-organised, offered an ideal opportunity for this. The conference was given wide publicity and was seen by some as the catalyst that broke the ice for the negotiations between the government and the ANC two and a half years later. <![CDATA[<b>"Labyrinth of loneliness"</b>: <b>Breyten Breytenbach's prison poetry (1976-1985)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2009000200004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Breytenbach's prison poetry is first contextualized as part of a South African subgenre that flourished under apartheid, and then interrogated for its specificities: the singular prison conditions under which he wrote, the nature of the poetry, specific leitmotifs in each of the five volumes published between 1976 and 1985. A psychoanalytic approach is indicated to this strong middle phase in his extensive poetical oeuvre, comprising seventeen collections of poetry. <![CDATA[<b>The reader in Breyten Breytenbach's prison poetry</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2009000200005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Breyten Breytenbach is the most important prison writer in the Afrikaans literary tradition. This article briefly places his prison writing against the background of national and international prison writing before going on to investigate the way in which the reader is represented in his Afrikaans prison poetry. Research about prison writing points out the importance of communication with the outside world for the prisoner. To the prisoner who is also a creative writer, writing is one of the most important means of establishing contact with the outside world. Amongst the large number of poems in Breytenbach's body of prison poetry which depict an attempt to communicate with the outside world, there are several in which the addressee is explicitly referred to as the reader. The focus of this investigation thus falls on that which reception aesthetics refer to as a"text-internal reader" or "explicit reader", directly or indirectly addressed in the text. The investigation shows that the poet-narrator in Breytenbach's prison poems is very conscious of the reader's role in the concretization of the poem. Several poems from Breytenbach's body of prison poetry, collected in the anthology Die ongedanste dans ("The undanced dance", 2005), are analysed to show different facets of the poetnarrator's relationship with the reader. Some of these analyses describe the poet-narrator's circumspect approach to the reader and the explanations and instructions given to the reader. Other analyses focus on the poet-narrator's attempts to manipulate references to time in order to create the illusion of simultaneity with the reader. Further analyses show that the prison writer's emphasis on the anonymity and absence of the reader can be related to philosophical representations of signification while at the same time being grounded in the material circumstances of Breytenbach's imprisonment. It is also shown that some of the poems depict the reader as being complicit in creating the circumstances in which the prison poet finds himself. <![CDATA[<b>The decentralisation of the subject in Breyten Breytenbach's poetry collection <i>('YK')</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2009000200006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In Breyten Breytenbach's poetry the "I" is complex. "I" and "you", the writer and the reader, are not represented with constituted meanings but as signifiers and as part of language production. This article reflects on the development process of the writer as the textual "I", the "I" narrator in the poetic text - the "I" of language that is not homogeneous or constant. The text is regarded as a pluriform in dialogue (often incomplete) with a variety of texts, the writer and his text, the texts of the reader and the texts of society and history. The author discusses the decentralisation of the subject in Breytenbach's poetry with respect to his prison collection ('YK'), and especially the poem "nekra" (a neologism recalling "necro"). <![CDATA[<b>Murder your darlings</b>: <b>Breytenbach, death and the woman</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2009000200007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The poet Breyten Breytenbach establishes a very specific relation between death and the art of poetry, a relation which is affirmed and elucidated in his literary essays, to such a degree that one could refer to his poetics as a death-conscious aesthetics. This is a position that is not wholly uncontroversial, especially in the light of feminist critique viewing the coupling of creativity and death as a male preoccupation that is almost always pursued to the exclusion and elimination of women. It becomes even more problematic when death is expressly linked to the woman, as Breytenbach often does, and this article views the poet's linkage of death, women and art against the backdrop of theoretical stances and the development of cultural viewpoints in this regard. <![CDATA[<b>To come home in style</b>: <b>Constructions of territory in Breyten Breytenbach's 'n Seisoen in die paradys (1976) and Dog Heart (1998)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2009000200008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article is a study of how Breyten Breytenbach deals with the idea of home in his autobiographical prose, how he experiences home and how he constructs it. Although I hope that the argument will serve to give a new perspective on any of Breytenbach's texts that deal with questions about the nature of home and the construction thereof, I only refer to 'n Seisoen in Paradys (A Season in Paradise, 1976) and Dog Heart (1998). The article uses concepts of Deleuze and Guattari to show how Breytenbach writes his home, and especially how his constructions of a home in his self-writings are products of a certain style of writing. <![CDATA[<b>The introspective perception</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2009000200009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In this article the relation between Breyten Breytenbach's paintings and poems is discussed focusing on images relating to vision, seeing, looking and eyes. Based on the interpretation of selected paintings, of which some are used on the covers of the volumes of poetry and a number of poems, the conclusion is reached that the same poetics and ars combinatoria underlie painting and writing in Breytenbach's oeuvre. Seeing, writing and living are opposed to blindness, non-vision, silence and death. In die windvanger ("the wind catcher") similar motifs are used but the emphasis is changed as the ability to see is more markedly associated with insight and an attempt to understand. <![CDATA[<b>The transitory language of forgetting</b>: <b>the metaphor in the work of Breyten Breytenbach</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2009000200010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en From his first book of poetry, die ysterkoei moet sweet ("the iron cow must sweat", 1964), till his most recent one, die windvanger ("the windcatcher", 2007), metaphor has been a central means towards the creation of meaning for Breytenbach. This article will investigate the use of metaphor particularly in this recent book. Theorising will begin at the beginning, at Aristotle's De Poetica and Rhetorica, where "simile" and "metaphor" are seen as the means toward seeking the relationship between signifier and signified. The poem "New York, 12 September 2001" is the focus of this relationship. Here the fallibility of the word in attempting to represent that tragedy (of the 11th) is illustrated. The theme of the poem is stated in its first lines: "will the hand continue to move on paper / will any poem ever have enough power ..." This article eventually comes to the conclusion that Breytenbach's use of the metaphor can be summarised in the words of Aristotle: "It is a great thing indeed, to make proper use of the poetical form [...] But the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor". <![CDATA[<b>Flags between words as poetical centre pins in Breyten Breytenbach's two volumes, <i>nege landskappe van ons tye bemaak aan 'n beminde </i>and <i>die windvanger</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2009000200011&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Breytenbach's two volumes, nege landskappe van ons tye bemaak aan 'n beminde ("nine landscapes of our time bequeath to a lover", 1993) and die windvanger ("the wind catcher", 2007), show remarkable similarities regarding his ars poetica. In both volumes the poet plays with the number nine - nine sections referring back to the seminal first poem. Both volumes feature omissions, parentheses and silences in the different sections as well as in the poems. In "versetverse" ("resistance verse") Breytenbach invites the reader as participant to fill the gaps, to claim the landscape as an inheritance and to catch the wind. This article explores the leads, provided by the poet, to investigate explicit statements on the nature and value of the poems. A comparative reading of the two volumes indicates the poet's parallel approach and methodology. <![CDATA[<b>Language as "entry" into the real world</b>: <b>travel, imagination, memory and identity in Breytenbach's <i>A Veil of Footsteps</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2009000200012&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Travelling is a central motive in A Veil of Footsteps (and in Breytenbach's oeuvre). In this work, travelling is a metaphor for imagination. Breytenbach pleads for continual travelling because "the earth needs to be discovered and remembered again and again". Breytenbach suggests that discovery and remembering require imagination. In the first part of this article the dependancy of imagination on language (the "footsteps" of the title) is investigated, using Paul Ricoeur's concept of a "semantic imagination". In the second part of the article three implications of imagination's dependancy on language is identified in A Veil of Footsteps. Firstly the close tie between imagination and memory (the book is described as a memoir); secondly the importance of imagination for identity; and thirdly the need for imagination to enable an ethical response for one's actions, are examined. <![CDATA[<b>"Writing is travelling unfolding it's own landscape."</b>: <b>a discussion withBreyten Breytenbach on <i>A Veil of Footsteps</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2009000200013&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This discussion of A Veil of Footsteps (Memoir of a nomadic fictional character) resulted from my reading of the manuscript - initially entitled Word Bird (On the peripatetic art of writing an I) - in August and September 2007. Breyten Breytenbach's comments on my initial responses to the manuscript led to the idea of giving the conversation a more formal structure. I invited Breytenbach (based in New York at the time) to a discussion via e-mail. The agreement was that he would have the chance to read the final text and to remove anything prior to publication. He answered all my questions and added slight modifications to one or two answers once the conversation had been completed, but removed nothing. The discussion lasted a month (October 2007), was interrupted and then concluded in February 2008. Other than the addition of a bibliography and endnotes, it has not been modified. I was concerned, at the time, about the reception in South Africa of a work that breaks so many rules. A Veil of Footsteps, simultaneously playful and serious in a characteristically Breytenbach manner, is riddled with pitfalls and my aim was to point one or two of them out with the hope that critics would then move on to the more challenging aspects of the work. The discussion took on its own momentum however and due to its length and nature I decided to withhold it at the time of the publication of A Veil of Footsteps. <![CDATA[<b>Creative movements of a free mind</b>: <b>notes on the discrepancy between Breytenbach's integrated creative process and the fragmented perception of his work</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2009000200014&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Breyten Breytenbach's multiple and many-sided work ranges from poetry, fiction, drama and essay to drawing, print and painting an cultural reasearch and activism. He has always emphasized that his varied activities and expressions are essentially one integrated art of living and thinking. However, the public and critical perception of Breytenbach's work tends to ignore its fundamental interconnections, reducing it to loose, fragmented aspects. <![CDATA[<b>Niet bestelde brief aan een nomade</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2009000200015&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Breyten Breytenbach's multiple and many-sided work ranges from poetry, fiction, drama and essay to drawing, print and painting an cultural reasearch and activism. He has always emphasized that his varied activities and expressions are essentially one integrated art of living and thinking. However, the public and critical perception of Breytenbach's work tends to ignore its fundamental interconnections, reducing it to loose, fragmented aspects. <![CDATA[<b>Platero en ek</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2009000200016&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Breyten Breytenbach's multiple and many-sided work ranges from poetry, fiction, drama and essay to drawing, print and painting an cultural reasearch and activism. He has always emphasized that his varied activities and expressions are essentially one integrated art of living and thinking. However, the public and critical perception of Breytenbach's work tends to ignore its fundamental interconnections, reducing it to loose, fragmented aspects. <![CDATA[<b>Gedigte</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2009000200017&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Breyten Breytenbach's multiple and many-sided work ranges from poetry, fiction, drama and essay to drawing, print and painting an cultural reasearch and activism. He has always emphasized that his varied activities and expressions are essentially one integrated art of living and thinking. However, the public and critical perception of Breytenbach's work tends to ignore its fundamental interconnections, reducing it to loose, fragmented aspects. <![CDATA[<b>Reviews</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2009000200018&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Breyten Breytenbach's multiple and many-sided work ranges from poetry, fiction, drama and essay to drawing, print and painting an cultural reasearch and activism. He has always emphasized that his varied activities and expressions are essentially one integrated art of living and thinking. However, the public and critical perception of Breytenbach's work tends to ignore its fundamental interconnections, reducing it to loose, fragmented aspects.