Original Research

Om (somtyds) lig en aandagtig te reis: mistici in drie romans van Lettie Viljoen/ Ingrid Winterbach

L. Foster
Literator | Vol 29, No 2 | a113 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v29i2.113 | © 2008 L. Foster | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 July 2008 | Published: 25 July 2008

About the author(s)

L. Foster, Departement Afrikaans en Nederlands, Universiteit van Stellenbosch, South Africa

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Traveling light and attentively (on occasion): mystics in three novels by Lettie Viljoen/Ingrid Winterbach

By means of references to mystics, the author Lettie Viljoen/ Ingrid Winterbach creates a framework within which characters who exhibit mystic tendencies – namely Fonny Alexander and Boetie Kareltjie (“Buller se plan”) and the master (“Landskap met vroue en slang”) – can be compared. This matrix activates a number of issues: the place of women within a religious-cultural system and the power they wield within such a system by resorting to mysticism, engagement with existing systems of authority and the possibility of exerting power by withdrawing from such systems, the traditional opposition between physicality and spiritual purity, and the issue of martyrdom. Against this backdrop Fonny’s obliteration of her own identity in an attempt to cope with trauma is contrasted with the master’s approach of experiencing and accepting change and attempting to learn from it. Ultimately it is argued that there is an attempt to reject a type of mysticism that pretends to offer power to its proponents while actually disempowering them.


Femininity; Ingrid Winterbach; Martyr; Mysticism


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