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(Re)writing the black feminist text:a comparative study of Zora Neale Hurston's Their eyes were watching god and Achmat Dangor's The Z Town trilogy

Pett, Sarah (2007) '(Re)writing the black feminist text:a comparative study of Zora Neale Hurston's Their eyes were watching god and Achmat Dangor's The Z Town trilogy.' Scrutiny2: Issues in English Studies in Southern Africa, 12 (2). pp. 96-106.

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Abstract

From Homer's Odyssey to the Arabic folk tale Leila and Majnun, the work of Achmat Dangor repeatedly revises texts from diverse literary traditions. Perhaps the most outstanding but overlooked aspect of Dangor's revisionism is his refiguration of Zora Neale Hurston's Their eyes were watching god into the township novella The Z Town trilogy. At first glance, this appears to place Dangor firmly within the Black Consciousness tradition of invoking Afro-American protest literature as a form of poetic resistance to apartheid. However, in keeping with Henry Louis Gates Jr's theory of signification, Dangor's mimesis is as much an act of criticism as it is one of solidarity. Rather than rewriting a text produced and subsequently canonised by a black male minority that, although oppressed themselves, actively participated in the oppression of their female counterparts, Dangor chooses to rewrite a seminal text of black feminism only recently accepted into the Afro-American literary canon. It is argued here that, in doing so, Dangor not only participates in the critical reappraisal of the black canon initiated by female Afro-American authors such as Alice Walker and Toni Morrison, but effectively calls for an analogous re-evaluation of black literature in South Africa.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: South African literature
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Arts > Centre for English Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of Linguistics
ISSN: 00415359
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1080/18125440701752016
Depositing User: Sarah Pett
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2015 10:35
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/21249

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