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Tydskrif vir Letterkunde

versão On-line ISSN 2309-9070

Tydskr. letterkd. vol.45 no.2 Pretoria Jan. 2008

 

"Ons kan maar net versin. En aan ons versinsels glo. Glo wat ander aan ons versin": Die herinnerde verlede in Elsa Joubert se Die reise van Isobelle.

 

The remembered past in Elsa Joubert's Isobelle's Journey

 

 

Willie Burger

Willie Burger is hoof van die Departement Afrikaans, Universiteit van Johannesburg. E-pos: willieb@uj.ac.za

 

 


ABSTRACT

The experience of the passage of time and our attempts to remember the past is central in Elsa Joubert's Die reise van Isobelle (1995) (translated in English as Isobelle's Journey). In this novel memory and the importance of remembering is contemplated. The novel starts with the end of an era (the Victorian era - described as an era of "innocence" of which we can only recognise the "pattern" afterwards) and closes with the end of an era (the end of apartheid). The ending of two eras draws attention to the passage of time. Remembering the past is a flawed process, often brings a sense of loss, but also contributes finding a way of looking towards the future. In this article the problems with remembering and forgetting is traced in the novel, but also how memory brings new possibilities to confront an uncertain future of which the patterns are not yet discernable. The novel deals specifically with autobiographic memory and the way in which this kind of memory contributes to morality. Ways in which memory can be employed to engage meaningfully with the current situation are indicated.

Key words: autobiography, Elsa Joubert, forgetting, Isobelle's Journey, memory


 

 

Full text available only in PDF format.

 

Aantekeninge

1. 'n Eerste weergawe van hierdie artikel is as 'n lesing gelewer by die Elsa Joubert-seminaar van die Departement Afrikaans, Universiteit van Suid-Afrika op 23 Augustus 2007.
2. Bladsynommers tussen hakies, sonder outeur of publikasiedatum, verwys na Elsa Joubert se roman Die reise van Isobelle (1995).
3. Hierdie opvatting kom al vroeg in Joubert se werk voor. Die slot van Joubert se vroeë reisverslag, Die verste reis (1959), lui immers: "die verste reis wat 'n mens kan maak, is van mens tot mens, deur die hart".
4. Vergelyk byvoorbeeld Agnes wat aan die vrou in die losieshuis in die Kaap probeer verduidelik hoe sy na haar werklike ma soek. Nadat sy alles vertel het, sê sy: "Ek dink dit is alles versinsel, maar ek moet weet. Die mense wat my geneem het, glo die storie; ek nog nie. Ek weet nie of ek dit ooit sal kan glo nie. Maar as ek dit nie glo nie, sal dit my altyd pla. Wie is ek dan? Het my eie ma oor my gelieg?" (127)
5. Die gesin se aanvaarding van Agnes berus byvoorbeeld op die kollektiewe herinnering wat hulle koester oor oom Hennie se sendingervaring. Hulle assosieer haar met Oom Hennie se sendingveld.

 

Bronnelys

Augustinus' Belijdenissen. G.d. Vertaling en Inlijding van Dr. A. Sizoo. Delft: Naamloze Vennootskap W.D. Meinema.         [ Links ]

Breytenbach, Breyten. 1998. Papierblom. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau.         [ Links ]

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Damasio, Antonio. 2006. Descartes' Error. London: Vintage Books.         [ Links ]

Joubert, Elsa. 1959. Die verste reis. Johannesburg: Dagbreek-Boekhandel.         [ Links ]

_____. 1995. Die reise van Isobelle. Kaapstad: Tafelberg.         [ Links ]

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