Original Research

'Naming of parts', or, how things shape up in transcultural literary history

L. de Kock
Literator | Vol 26, No 2 | a225 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v26i2.225 | © 2005 L. de Kock | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 July 2005 | Published: 31 July 2005

About the author(s)

L. de Kock, Department of English Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

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This article suggests that transcultural literary history, in itself an exercise of great complexity, is rendered even more challenging if one accepts that cognition is a critical prior step in the process, regardless of whether literary history is conceived in empirical or in poststructuralist terms. Further, it is argued that cognition depends on analogical processes – to such an extent that literary “history” can be understood as a self-revising cascade of “windows” which recreate the field cognitively over and over again. In this understanding, “literary history”, and transcultural literary history in particular, become metacognitive. Rather than a search for “true” structure, literary history is a search for imagined structure which is true to one’s mode of perception in the first instance, and to the data at hand in the second. These propositions are argued in relation to South African literary historiography in English.


Analogy; Cognitive Processes; Hypertext; Metaphor; South African Literary Historiography; Transcultural Literary Historiography


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