Writing in Crisis

Ethics and History in Gordimer, Ndebele and Coetzee

By Stefan Helgesson

In the 1980's, South African literary criticism was preoccupied with the issue of political responsibility and various aspects of literary texts were largely ignored by the dominant critical debates of the time. By focusing on the predicament of literary writing in times of historical turmoil, Writing in Crisis investigates three central apartheid-era texts that attempt to engage a cultural form and deviate from it at the same time. Helgesson argues that Fools and Other Stories by Njabulo Ndebele, A Sport of Nature by Nadine Gordimer, and Life & Times of Michael K by J.M. Coetzee, each articulate a response to the upheavals of late apartheid. Writing in Crisis covers the critical literary debates of the period and employs a close reading practice that is simultaneously informed by a nuanced understanding of post-colonial theory and the ethical philosophy of Emmanuel L?vinas. For both scholar and student, this book is an invaluable and accessible resource that helps to illuminate South African literature.

274 pages

Publication Date: 3/1/2004
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781869140441