Original Research

Enlightened state versus millenarian vision: A comparison between two historical novels

Z. Roelofse-Campbell
Literator | Vol 18, No 1 | a531 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v18i1.531 | © 1997 Z. Roelofse-Campbell | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 1997 | Published: 30 April 1997

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Z. Roelofse-Campbell, Unisa Centre for Latin American Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

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Abstract

Two millenarian events, one in Brazil (Canudos Rebellion, 1897) and the other in South Africa (Bulhoek Massacre, 1921) have inspired two works of narrative fiction: Mario Vargas Llosa's The War of the End of the World (1981) and Mike Nicol’s This Day and Age (1992). In both novels the events are presented from the perspectives of both the oppressed landless peasants and the oppressors, who were the ruling élites. In both instances, governments which purported to be models of enlightenment and modernity resorted to violence and repression in order to uphold their authority. Vargas Llosa's novel was written in the Latin American tradition where truth and fiction mingle indistinguishably while in the South African novel fictional elements override historical truth.

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