Original Research

Between nostalgia and parody: The representation of childhood and youth in Afrikaans literature of the nineties

H. P. van Coller
Literator | Vol 19, No 2 | a521 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v19i2.521 | © 1998 H. P. van Coller | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 1998 | Published: 30 April 1998

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H. P. van Coller, Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

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White Afrikaans literature of the sixties can be seen as typically modernist, work of the later part of the eighties and of the nineties clearly shows all the characteristics of postmodernism. Against this backdrop recent Afrikaans prose writing dealing with the representation of childhood and youth can be discussed on the basis of a few of the best and most representative texts. A tentative conclusion is that Afrikaans writing in the nineties focuses on the individualized past, an approach Linda Hutcheon calls "historical metafiction". The authorial stance in these texts fluctuates between what can be termed nostalgia and parody, and should be seen as part of a traumatic psychological process facing white South Africans in particular, namely having to deal with the past. In Afrikaans prose writing the nostalgic stance is especially prevalent in the (traditional) prose writings of authors on the right of the political spectrum. In contrast the parodic stance (dominant in recent Afrikaans prose writings) not only leans toward postmodernism - the prevailing paradigm in the Afrikaans literary context - but can almost without exception be termed "leftist" and "progressive".


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