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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751


T'SJOEN, Yves. Charl-Pierre Naudé and Gert Vlok Nel in the Low Countries: Lateral transnational movements of Afrikaans poets into Dutch and English language areas. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2015, vol.55, n.1, pp.111-122. ISSN 2224-7912.

Translations and interviews, performances at international festivals, transnational writer networks and (mentions in) literary criticism are indications of the local, national or global circulation of literary authors and texts beyond the boundaries of a national field or a specific language area. The concept of transnationalism or world literature is too broad for indicating the specific moves foreign writers make. The way poets and texts position and manifest themselves in an international poly-systemic atmosphere can be of various kinds. Shih and Lionnet introduced for this purpose the concept of "minor transnationalism". Relationships and interactions between minority cultures or marginal literatures, such as Afrikaans and Dutch, can be seen as "lateral" movements. From an international perspective Dutch literature, situated in a language area of about 23 million native speakers, can also be considered as in the centre of European literature. In that way we can better speak of a "vertical" movement. The case studies on Gert Vlok Nel and Charl-Pierre Naudé are interesting from this perspective. Nel is mostly known as a poet-performer who makes use of music to bring his poems to stage in South Africa and elsewhere. From that perspective Naudé's authorship is related to a more traditional posture. His literary work is printed in books and performances for a live audience are rather limited. Both poets have been translated into Dutch and their presence and reception in the literature of Flanders and the Netherlands is obvious. Nevertheless the critical reception of their poetry is quite different. Nel's and Naudé's poems are also translated into English. Therefore we can speak of a global vertical movement towards the Anglo-American epicentre of contemporary world literature.

Keywords : transnationalism; globalisation; minor transnationalism; Afrikaans poetry; Dutch poetry; minority cultures; comparative literature; literary translation; auto-translation; literary-institutional research; poetics; literary networking.

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