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  • Literary World-Making under Apartheid: Staffrider and the Location of Print Culture

    Stefan Helgesson

    Chapter from the book: Helgesson, S et al. 2018. World Literatures: Exploring the Cosmopolitan-Vernacular Exchange.


    With the March 1979 issue of the South African literary journal Staffrider as its empirical case, this chapter demonstrates how the journal can be read as a world-making enterprise. Based in an Arendtian understanding of world-making as a collective and public human undertaking that is intended to persist through time, the analysis focuses on how Staffrider’s cultivatation of literary value harnessed formal, linguistic and canonical resources of a wider literary world for local and politically radical ends. Hence, properly accounting for its significance in the history of South African literature requires that we move beyond its immediate location and moment, and adopt a broader and deeper analytical framework that recognises the relative autonomony of literature as an aspect of its world-making capacity. In its generality, this may seem like a harmless claim, but its interest lies in how such a harnessing of resources is done – and also how this may adjust or even challenge the received South African understanding of Staffrider’s importance.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Helgesson, S. 2018. Literary World-Making under Apartheid: Staffrider and the Location of Print Culture. In: Helgesson, S et al (eds.), World Literatures. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16993/bat.p

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on Nov. 22, 2018


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