Original Research

Breyten Breytenbach en die Simbolisme - ’n voorlopige verkenning

H. Viljoen
Literator | Vol 13, No 1 | a720 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v13i1.720 | © 1992 H. Viljoen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 May 1992 | Published: 06 May 1992

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H. Viljoen, Potchefstroomse Universiteit vir CHO, South Africa

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This article is an attempt to outline the difference between Breytenbach's poetic method and that of the Symbolists. Although it touches on aspects of the symbolist poetic method like the rich suggestiveness, the creation o f a meaningful alternative world (and the effort of doing this), it focuses mainly on Breytenbach’s use of metaphor to create an impossible alternative world in a poem, only to relativize and destroy it again in the end. This process is illustrated in an analysis of poem 8.1 from Lotus. This analysis also shows up five well-known cardinal traits of Breytenbach’s poetry, viz. its carnality, the universal analogy between body, cosmos and poetry and the great emphasis on journeys, discoveries and transformations by means of language. It is also claimed that the Zen-Buddhisi Void plays an analogous role in Breytenbach's poetry to the theory of correspondances in the Symbolists: it is a rich source of metaphor. Breytenbach's poetry shows a strong duality between the present world and a meaningful alternative sphere. Being in and of this alternative sphere only aggravates the poet’s isolation (a typically symbolist trait), making him literally and figuratively an exile, as exile poems like "tot siens, kaapstad" (see you again, cape town) and "Walvis in die berg" (Whale on the mountain) and, of course, his prison poetry, clearly show.


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