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Generic Boundaries in South African Literature: a Revaluation

“Commonwealth Essays and Studies” journal, 46.1

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Published on Monday, July 18, 2022 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

This call for papers invites proposals for an issue entitled ‘Generic Boundaries in South African Literature: a Revaluation’ which will aim to examine what is at stake in the distinction between fiction and non-fiction, but also, more generally, in the fluidity of boundaries between genres in South African literature. We invite contributions on South African literary works which show an awareness of the shifting boundaries between fiction and nonfiction (true crime, new journalism…), but also, possibly, between prose and poetry or between realism and fantasy.

Announcement

Argument

This CFP invites contributions in English for an issue of Commonwealth Essays and Studies (46.1, Spring 2023). Papers shall examine the contested boundaries between genres in South African literature in the light of debates about fiction and non-fiction, but also, possibly, with a wider scope.

In an article provocatively entitled ‘“In a Country where You couldn’t Make this Shit up”?: Literary Non‐Fiction in South Africa’, Hedley Twidle examines the relationship between fiction and non-fiction in South Africa and reaches the conclusion that ‘one is left with the paradox that the centuries-old opposition of “the novel” and “history” can hardly be abandoned. Provoking the complex play of responsibility and irresponsibility that lies at the heart of reading the literary (non-fictional or otherwise), this binary remains – such is the complexity of apprehending texts, and the sheer volume of narratives that must be processed in a digital world – both inhibiting and energizing; inadequate and indispensable.’ (Twidle 2012: 25) Such works as J. M. Coetzee’s ‘autrebiographies’ or Antjie Krog’s A Change of Tongue, for instance, paradoxically challenge this binary while simultaneously reasserting its existence, thus calling into question not only the relationship between ‘reality’ and ‘fiction,’ but also the very validity of the concept of literary genres. Of course, one should not fall into the trap of thinking ‘that history equals “nonfiction,” which would also produce the reverse equation that non-fiction equals history’ because ‘such an equals sign would be (and has been) extraordinarily limiting, constraining the kind of writing that can be done, whether fiction, non-fiction, or history,’ as Stephen Clingman rightly points out in his answer to Twidle’s article (Clingman 2012: 54). Yet, it seems that the South African literary landscape has always been, and can still be, defined through this prism.

In relation to this, a remarkable evolution has been the rise of crime narratives, either fictional, like the novels written by Deon Meyer, Margie Orford, or Jassy MacKenzie, to mention just a few examples, or non-fictional, as shown by the rise of ‘true crime’ – a trend which, Leon de Kock contends, testifies to the fact that ‘postapartheid literature is inescapably bound to the time of before’ (De Kock 2016: 58) and to what could be described as an archeological impulse.

This call for papers invites proposals for an issue entitled ‘Generic Boundaries in South African Literature: a Revaluation’ which will aim to examine what is at stake in the distinction between fiction and non-fiction, but also, more generally, in the fluidity of boundaries between genres in South African literature. We invite contributions on South African literary works which show an awareness of the shifting boundaries between fiction and nonfiction (true crime, new journalism…), but also, possibly, between prose and poetry or between realism and fantasy.

Submission guidelines

Proposals should be sent to the editors of the issue: Mélanie Joseph-Vilain and Gilles Teulié : Melanie.Joseph-Vilain@u-bourgogne.fr; gilles.teulie@univ-amu.fr

by 31 July 2022.

Articles will be due by 31 October 2022.

Link to the stylesheet: https://journals.openedition.org/ces/455

Articles submitted for publication in Commonwealth Essays and Studies are subject to double-blind peer-review. Both the editorial board and the international advisory board are involved in the reviewing process.

Reviewing Committee

  • Sandeep Bakshi (U. de Paris)
  • Claire Bazin (U. Paris – Nanterre)
  • Salhia Ben-Messahel (U. de Toulon)
  • Corinne Bigot (U. de Toulouse – Jean Jaurès)
  • Marilyne Brun (U. de Lorraine)
  • Florence Cabaret (U. de Rouen)
  • Anne Castaing (CNRS)
  • André Dodeman (U. Grenoble Alpes)
  • Christiane Fioupou (U. de Toulouse – Jean Jaurès)
  • Claire Gallien (U. Paul Valéry – Montpellier 3)
  • Cécile Girardin (U. Paris 13)
  • Vanessa Guignery (ENS Lyon)
  • Mélanie Joseph-Vilain (U. de Dijon)
  • Claire Joubert (U. Paris 8 – Vincennes-Saint-Denis)
  • Françoise Kral (U. Paris – Nanterre)
  • Florence Labaune-Demeule (U. Lyon 3 – Jean Moulin)
  • Judith Misrahi-Barak (U. Paul Valéry – Montpellier 3)
  • Catherine Pesso-Miquel (U. Lumière Lyon 2)
  • Alexandra Poulain (Sorbonne Nouvelle)
  • Mathilde Rogez (U. de Toulouse – Jean Jaurès)
  • Sneharika Roy (The American U. of Paris)
  • Richard Samin (U. de Lorraine)
  • Alexis Tadié (Sorbonne U.)
  • Christine Vandamme (U. Grenoble Alpes)
  • Kerry-Jane Wallart (U. d'Orléans)
  • Laetitia Zecchini (CNRS)
  • Pascal Zinck (U. Paris 13)

Scientific Committee

  • Maria-Sabina Draga Alexandru (U. of Bucharest)
  • Diana Brydon (U. of Manitoba, Canada)
  • Estelle Castro (James Cook U., Australia)
  • Alistair Fox (U. of Otago, New Zealand)
  • Michelle Keown (U. of Edinburgh, UK)
  • Neil ten Kortenaar (U. of Toronto, Canada)
  • Bénédicte Ledent (U. of Liège, Belgium)
  • Laura Moss (U. of British Columbia, Canada)
  • Vassilena Parashkevova (U. of Surrey)
  • Andrea Robin Ruthven (U. of Cantabria, Spain)
  • Paul Sharrad (U. of Wollongong, Australia)
  • John Thieme (U. of East Anglia, UK)
  • Mark Williams (Victoria U. of Wellington, New Zealand)
  • Janet Wilson (U. of Northampton, UK)

Editorial Committee

  • Kathie Birat (U. de Lorraine)
  • Christine Lorre-Johnston (Sorbonne Nouvelle)
  • Fiona McCann (U. de Lille)
  • Claire Omhovère (U. Paul Valéry – Montpellier 3)

References

Clingman, Stephen (2012). “Writing Spaces: Fiction and Non-Fiction in South Africa” Safundi 13.1-2, 51-58.

De Kock, Leon (2016). Losing the Plot. Crime, Reality and Fiction in Postapartheid Writing. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

Twidle, Hedley (2012). “‘In a Country where You couldn’t Make this Shit up’?: Literary Non‐Fiction in South Africa” Safundi 13.1-2, 5-28.


Date(s)

  • Sunday, July 31, 2022

Keywords

  • literary genre, post-apartheid, reality, fiction, non-fiction, biography, autobiography

Contact(s)

  • Gilles Teulié
    courriel : gilles [dot] teulie [at] univ-amu [dot] fr
  • Mélanie Joseph-Vilain
    courriel : Melanie [dot] Joseph-Vilain [at] u-bourgogne [dot] fr

Information source

  • Mélanie Joseph-Vilain
    courriel : Melanie [dot] Joseph-Vilain [at] u-bourgogne [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Generic Boundaries in South African Literature: a Revaluation », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Monday, July 18, 2022, https://calenda.org/1008974

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