Original Research

Crossing spatial and temporal boundaries: Three women in search of a future

M. Wenzel
Literator | Vol 21, No 3 | a493 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v21i3.493 | © 2000 M. Wenzel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 April 2000 | Published: 26 April 2000

About the author(s)

M. Wenzel, School of Languages and Arts: English, Potchefstroom University for CHE, South Africa

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Abstract

The past has become a focal point in contemporary South African discourse, in public debate, newspaper articles and various forms of literature. South African literature written during the eighties and nineties, in particular English and Afrikaans novels, effectively portray this climate of confrontation and reconciliation by engaging in dialogue with the past and history. This article traces the evolution of political consciousness in the female protagonists of A Sport of Nature (1987) by Nadine Gordimer, Die reise van Isobelle (1996) by Elsa Joubert and Imaginings of Sand (1997) by André Brink. All three novelists subvert the traditional stereotypes of white women: Gordimer in an ironic quasi-picaresque form, Joubert by staging a family saga that assumes a testimonial quality and Brink in a fictionalised meta-history of women interwoven with strands of magic realism. The novels all engage with history, and in particular the role of women in history, in a constructive manner and attempt to anticipate a positive scenario for the future.

Keywords

A Sport Of Nature; Nadine Gordimer; Die Reise Van Isobelle; Elsa Joubert; Imaginings Of Sand; André Brink; Spatial And Temporal Boundaries; Subversion Of Female Stereotypes; Women In South African Literature

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