Present Imperfect: Contemporary South African Writing by Andrew Van Der VliesPresent Imperfect: Contemporary South African Writing by Andrew Van Der Vlies

Present Imperfect: Contemporary South African Writing

byAndrew Van Der Vlies

Hardcover | July 1, 2017

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Present Imperfect asks how South African writers have responded to the end of apartheid, to the hopes that attended the birth of the "new" nation in 1994, and to the inevitable disappointments that have followed. The first full-length study of affect in South Africa's literature, itunderstands "disappointment" both as a description of bad feeling and as naming a missed appointment with all that was promised by the anti-colonial and anti-apartheid Struggle (a dis-appointment). Attending to contemporary writers' treatment of temporality, genre, and form, it considers a range ofnegative feelings that are also experiences of temporal disjuncture - including stasis, impasse, boredom, disaffection, and nostalgia. Present Imperfect offers close readings of work by a range of writers - some known to international Anglophone readers including J.M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, IvanVladislavic, and Zoe Wicomb, some slightly less well-known including Afrikaans-language novelists Marlene van Niekerk and Ingrid Winterbach, and others from a new generation including Songeziwe Mahlangu and Masande Ntshanga. It addresses key questions in South African studies about the evolving character of the historical period in which the country now finds itself. It is also alert to wider critical and theoretical conversations, looking outward to make a case for the place of South African writing in globalconversations, and mobilizing readings of writing marked in various ways as "South African" in order to complicate the contours of World Literature as category, discipline, and pedagogy. It is thus also a book about the discontents of neoliberalism, the political energies of reading, and the fatesof literature in our troubled present.
Andrew van der Vlies is Reader in Global Anglophone Literature and Theory in the Department of English at Queen Mary University of London and Extraordinary Associate Professor at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Born and raised in South Africa, he was educated at Rhodes University and completed his doctorate at the Uni...
Title:Present Imperfect: Contemporary South African WritingFormat:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 8.5 × 5.31 × 0 inPublished:July 1, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198793766

ISBN - 13:9780198793762


Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction: No Time Like the Present1. On Being Stuck: Stasis and Situation Tragedy2. Bad Feelings in the Provinces of History3. Temporal Adoption, Novelistic Prosthesis4. Towards a Critical Nostalgia5. South Africa, Time or Place?6. Stasis Anxiety: On Contemporary Waithood

Editorial Reviews

"Present Imperfect reads postapartheid fiction for traces of an unanticipated struggle: to recalibrate unmet expectations and grapple with 'bad feelings' of disappointment, nostalgia, even boredom. A deeply informed and inventive critic, Van der Vlies offers a stirring, necessary account ofreading, the novel, and the literary as a fragile yet life-sustaining space where glimmers of alternative possibility may dwell and take hold." --Jennifer Wenzel, Columbia University