A Morbid Fascination: White Prose and Politics in Apartheid South Africa

A Morbid Fascination: White Prose and Politics in Apartheid South Africa

by Richard Peck


Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


Using a broad range of literature to examine the political culture of white South Africa, Peck finds both a preoccupation with political issues and a dislike for politics. The literature examined ranges from South African propaganda, through a variety of bestsellers—adventure stories and mystery novels written by authors such as Wilbur Smith and James McClure—to self-conscious literary works of the canonical white South African authors such as Alan Paton, André Brink, and Nadine Gordimer. The study gives attention to anti-political features of the liberal tradition that dominated South African writing, and to the failure of writers who undermined that tradition to generate a more positive view of politics. The morbid fascination with politics that is found across the full spectrum of creative writing is a reflection of the circumstances in which writers found themselves, but it is still a worrisome feature of the white South African political culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780313300912
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 02/19/1997
Series: Contributions to the Study of World Literature Series , #78
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

RICHARD PECK is Professor of International Affairs at Lewis and Clark College. He trained in Political Science and International Relations at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Yale University. A specialist in African and other Third World politics, and in international organizations, Peck has published in Research in African Literatures, World Literature Written in English, The Journal of Contemporary African Studies, The African Studies Review, and other journals.

Table of Contents


The Morbid Fascination with Politics in South African Prose

Beware the Gaboon Adder: Wilbur Smith's Purple Prose and Propaganda

The Mystery of McClure's Trekkersburg Mysteries: Text and Non-Reception in South Africa

More Mysteries Against Apartheid: Bosman, Ebersohn, and Drummond

Progressively Anti-Political: Recent Anti-Apartheid Best-Sellers

The Liberal Tradition in South African Writing: Alan Paton and Laurens van der Post

Undermining the Liberal Tradition: Dan Jacobson, Phyllis Altman, and Mary Benson

Condemned to Choose, But What? Existentialism in South African Writing in English

Nadine Gordimer's Morbid Fascination with Politics

The Play of Politics in South African Theater


Selected Bibliography


Customer Reviews