Original Research

“Ruik die verderf in die kieliebakke”: Breyten Breytenbach se blik op die lyk

M. Crous
Literator | Vol 29, No 3 | a124 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v29i3.124 | © 2008 M. Crous | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 July 2008 | Published: 25 July 2008

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M. Crous, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

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Abstract

“Smell the rot in the armpits”: Breyten Breytenbach’s perspectives on the corpse

The purpose of this article is to analyse Breyten Breytenbach’s so-called corpse poem, “bekommernis”, taken from his debut album “die ysterkoei moet sweet” (1964). The theoretical point of departure is the theories of Kristeva, in particular her essay on abjection. Not only does the article focus on Breytenbach’s portrayal of the abject, but also shows to what extent his use of language describing death, decay and the cadaver illustrates what Kristeva calls “a revolution in poetic language”. Given the fact that the poem is situated in a Zen Buddhist context, the Zen philosophy on death and dying is also taken into consideration when analysing aspects such as the dissolution of the ego, the bardos of death, et cetera.

Keywords

Elegy VS Corpse Poem; Poetic Language; Zen Buddhism

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