The short-story genre has been often considered a minor genre – not only shorter, but of less cultural prestige and importance. In particular, apart from a very limited selection of internationally canonised short-story writers, the genre is often regarded merely as an author’s apprenticeship to the novel. The form of the short story, however, is thriving in the postcolonial context, also due to the genre’s material conditions of production and circulation. Starting from these considerations, my paper aims to discuss the black South African short story in English, with particular focus on the decade of the Fifties, by looking at a selection of the short fiction written by South African-born writers Can Themba (1924-1967) and Alex La Guma (1924-1985). At the same time, my paper seeks to explore the role of South African periodicals and magazines as the only outlets for the circulation of short stories by black writers in 1950s South Africa. The category of the minor also applies to these local publishing venues, especially if compared to prestigious international magazines abiding by metropolitan publishing conventions, such as the New Yorker, where the short fiction by the two writers’ more celebrated fellow countrywoman Nadine Gordimer appeared. Ultimately, a close reading of the selected short stories also aims to problematise the idea of a contested, or minor, literariness applied to these texts, written from a politically pressured culture.

A Minor Genre for a Contested Literature: The Short Stories by Can Themba and Alex La Guma / M. Fossati. ((Intervento presentato al convegno World Literature and the Minor: Figuration, Circulation, Translation tenutosi a Leuven (online) nel 2021.

A Minor Genre for a Contested Literature: The Short Stories by Can Themba and Alex La Guma

M. Fossati
2021-05-07

Abstract

The short-story genre has been often considered a minor genre – not only shorter, but of less cultural prestige and importance. In particular, apart from a very limited selection of internationally canonised short-story writers, the genre is often regarded merely as an author’s apprenticeship to the novel. The form of the short story, however, is thriving in the postcolonial context, also due to the genre’s material conditions of production and circulation. Starting from these considerations, my paper aims to discuss the black South African short story in English, with particular focus on the decade of the Fifties, by looking at a selection of the short fiction written by South African-born writers Can Themba (1924-1967) and Alex La Guma (1924-1985). At the same time, my paper seeks to explore the role of South African periodicals and magazines as the only outlets for the circulation of short stories by black writers in 1950s South Africa. The category of the minor also applies to these local publishing venues, especially if compared to prestigious international magazines abiding by metropolitan publishing conventions, such as the New Yorker, where the short fiction by the two writers’ more celebrated fellow countrywoman Nadine Gordimer appeared. Ultimately, a close reading of the selected short stories also aims to problematise the idea of a contested, or minor, literariness applied to these texts, written from a politically pressured culture.
Settore L-LIN/10 - Letteratura Inglese
A Minor Genre for a Contested Literature: The Short Stories by Can Themba and Alex La Guma / M. Fossati. ((Intervento presentato al convegno World Literature and the Minor: Figuration, Circulation, Translation tenutosi a Leuven (online) nel 2021.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/883913
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