South African London

Writing the metropolis after 1948

By Andrea Thorpe

South African London
Hardcover +
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526148551
  • Publish Date: Nov 2021
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Paperback +
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526174598
  • Publish Date: Nov 2023
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook -
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526148544
  • Publish Date: Nov 2021
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4854-4
    • Published Date: November 2021


    This book presents a long-ranging and in-depth study of South African writing set in London during the apartheid years and beyond. Since London served as an important site of South African exile and emigration, particularly during the second half of the twentieth-century, the city shaped the history of South African letters in meaningful and material ways. Being in London allowed South African writers to engage with their own expectations of Englishness, and to rethink their South African identities. The book presents a range of diverse and fascinating responses by South African writers that provide nuanced perspectives on exile, global racisms and modernity. Writers studied include Peter Abrahams, Dan Jacobson, Noni Jabavu, Todd Matshikiza, Arthur Nortje, Lauretta Ngcobo, J.M.Coetzee, Justin Cartwright, and Ishtiyaq Shukri. South African London offers an original and multi-faceted take on both London writing and South African twentieth-century literature.


    'In this rich and engaging new study, Andrea Thorpe offers us the perspectives of those for whom London was variously a lens to view the world [...] The book is sharply cognisant of the production of 'South African' writing and writers in London and how this was racially structured [...] there is much in Thorpe's work for scholars of South African history and writing, London and urban histories, exile, modernity, and transnational movements.'
    Anne Macguire, The London Journal

    Thorpe's re-evaluation of South African writing as London writing holds political as well as scholarly importance.'
    Hayley G. Toth, Journal of Postcolonial Writing

    'South African London is a well-conceived and engaging book, providing informed and insightful readings that nuance the contrapuntal paradigm of exilic writing. It makes a valuable contribution to South African literary history, as well as to the literature of London and to Diaspora Studies.'
    Peter Blair, Modern Language Review


    Introduction: Through the "eyes" of London
    1 Peter Abrahams and Dan Jacobson: South African liberal humanists in postwar London
    Detour:"I have always been a Londoner": Noni Jabavu, an unconventional South African in London
    2 Swinging City: Todd Matshikiza's contrapuntal London writing
    3 Waiting and Watching in the city's pleasure streets: Arthur Nortje's poems set in London
    Detour: South African writers and London networks of black British activism
    4 Securing the past: Self-reflexive, retrospective narratives of London in J.M. Coetzee's Youth and Justin Cartwright's In Every Face I Meet
    Epilogue: Between the cracks of the city: Transnational Solidarities in Ishtiyaq Shukri's The Silent Minaret


    Andrea Thorpe teaches academic skills at QA Higher Education, London, and is a research associate of the University of Johannesburg.

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