The Literature Police: Apartheid Censorship and Its Cultural Consequences

Paperback | November 14, 2010

byPeter D. Mcdonald

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"Censorship may have to do with literature", Nadine Gordimer once said, "but literature has nothing whatever to do with censorship."As the history of many repressive regimes shows, this vital borderline has seldom been so clearly demarcated. Just how murky it can sometimes be is compellingly exemplified in the case of apartheid South Africa. For reasons that were neither obvious nor historically inevitable, the apartheid censorswere not only the agents of the white minority government's repressive anxieties about the medium of print. They were also officially-certified guardians of the literary. This book is centrally about the often unpredictable cultural consequences of this paradoxical situation. Peter D. McDonald brings to light a wealth of new evidence - from the once secret archives of the censorship bureaucracy, from the records of resistance publishers and writers' groups both in the country and abroad - and uses extensive oral testimony. He tells the strangely tangled stories ofcensorship and literature in apartheid South Africa and, in the process, uncovers an extraordinarily complex web of cultural connections linking Europe and Africa, East and West. The Literature Police affords a unique perspective on one of the most anachronistic, exploitative, and racist modern states of the post-war era, and on some of the many forms of cultural resistance it inspired. It also raises urgent questions about how we understand the category of the literary intoday's globalized, intercultural world.

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"Censorship may have to do with literature", Nadine Gordimer once said, "but literature has nothing whatever to do with censorship."As the history of many repressive regimes shows, this vital borderline has seldom been so clearly demarcated. Just how murky it can sometimes be is compellingly exemplified in the case of apartheid South A...

Peter D. McDonald is Fellow of St Hugh's College and Lecturer in English at the University of Oxford.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.81 inPublished:November 14, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199591113

ISBN - 13:9780199591114

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Table of Contents

PrefaceNote to the ReaderPart I: Creating Spaces/Guarding Borders1. Censors2. Publishers3. WritersPart II: Singular Situations/Disruptive Moments1. Nadine Gordimer and the Strength of African Fiction2. Afrikan versus Volks Humanism: Es'kia Mphahlele's Worldly Music and the Transcendent Space of Culture3. Connected versus Internal Critics: Breytenbach, Leroux and the Volk Avant Garde4. BLAC Books, Black (Anti-)Poetics5. J. M. Coetzee: The Provincial Storyteller6. Protest and Beyond: Third-World People's Stories in the Staffrider SeriesPostscriptAcknowledgementsChronologyBibliography

Editorial Reviews

"An amazing book - a gift actually." --Antjie Krog 15/12/2008