How do great moments in literary traditions arise from times of intense social and political upheaval? South African Literature's Russian Soul charts the interplay of narrative innovation and political isolation in two of the world's most renowned non-European literatures. In this book, Jeanne-Marie Jackson demonstrates how Russian writing's "Golden Age" in the troubled nineteenth-century has served as a model for South African writers both during and after apartheid. Exploring these two isolated literary cultures alongside each other, the book challenges the limits of "global" methodologies in contemporary literary studies and outdated models of center-periphery relations to argue for a more locally involved scale of literary enquiry with more truly global horizons.
Jeanne-Marie Jackson is Assistant Professor of World Anglophone literature at Johns Hopkins University, USA.
1. Introduction. Russia in the South African Imaginary 2. The Novel at a Crossroads: Gordimer, Tlali, & the Struggle for Form I. Testing Trans-Century Parallels II. Gordimer's Effacement by Narration III. The Path of Progress in Miriam Tlali's Amandla 3. Making Animals Work in Tolstoy, Coetzee, and Van Niekerk I. Dismantling Tolstoy's Strider II. Coetzee's Action of Absence III. Enduring Isolation in Marlene van Niekerk's Triomf 4. Retreating Reality: Chekhov's South African Afterlives I. Structuring Chekhovian Timelessness II. De Wet's Self-Disabling Response III. The Risky Business of Canonical Affirmation 5. Emigre Fiction and the Double-Bind of Home I. Permeable Repossessions and Nabokov's Speak, Memory II. Mark Behr's Not-Quite-Global Novel III. Nkosi's Mandela's Ego as Ambivalent Mourning 6. Epilogue. Works Cited Index