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 general distrust of politics.
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.
Preface 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 Conclusion Selected Bibliography Index