Download e-book for kindle: South African Literature after the Truth Commission: Mapping by Shane Graham (auth.)

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By Shane Graham (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0230620973

ISBN-13: 9780230620971

ISBN-10: 1349379239

ISBN-13: 9781349379231

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Extra resources for South African Literature after the Truth Commission: Mapping Loss

Example text

In his study Holocaust Testimonies, Lawrence Langer makes a distinction that may help us understand this paradox. Langer distinguishes between “common memory,” which produces the surface narratives that are related to other people, and “deep memory,” which is the trauma victim’s unconveyable truth. Common memory can never adequately represent the “reality” of deep memory, and thus must be continually revised. In some cases, however, Langer suggests that the manifestations of common memory can become calcified in particular, seemingly immutable, forms.

I am not free. Their deed will be with me for the rest of my life” (Dube 127). It is precisely this eternal haunting that requires the survivor of trauma to continually revisit and revise the narratives of loss. In the director’s notes to his own work Ubu and the Truth Commission, William Kentridge says of the Khulumani play that “what the ‘real’ people give is not the evidence itself, but performances of the evidence. There is a huge gap between the testimony at the Commission and its reperformance on stage” (Kentridge xiii).

In Dube 126). Yet, in a cruel irony, Shezi’s apparent transcendence of victim status seems to diminish the stories’ affective impact on the audience. In his study Holocaust Testimonies, Lawrence Langer makes a distinction that may help us understand this paradox. Langer distinguishes between “common memory,” which produces the surface narratives that are related to other people, and “deep memory,” which is the trauma victim’s unconveyable truth. Common memory can never adequately represent the “reality” of deep memory, and thus must be continually revised.

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South African Literature after the Truth Commission: Mapping Loss by Shane Graham (auth.)


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