Original Research

The trickster and the prison house: The Bakhtinian dimension of ‘the carnivalesque’ in Breyten Breytenbach’s True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist

I. Dimitriu
Literator | Vol 16, No 1 | a598 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v16i1.598 | © 1995 I. Dimitriu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 1995 | Published: 30 April 1995

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I. Dimitriu, Department of English, University of Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Abstract

This paper undertakes an analysis of Breytenbach’s prison book in terms of the autobiographer's psychological response to his experience of incarceration. Breytenbach’s ‘gallows humour' is shown to parallel the Bakhtinian ‘carnivalesque' with its symbolic destruction of official authority on the one hand, and the assertion of spiritual renewal on the other While looking into the carnivalesque dimension of gallows humour as mediated through the literary device of the trickster figure, I shall show that ‘the laughter of irreverence' goes beyond mere verbal playfulness in that it is part of a spiritually-based programme of opposition.

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