South African London

Writing the metropolis after 1948

By Andrea Thorpe

South African London


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4855-1
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: November 2021
  • BIC Category: Contemporary Literature, Literary studies: from c 2000, LITERARY COLLECTIONS / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, LITERARY CRITICISM / African, Literature, Twentieth Century Literature, LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 21st Century, LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 20th Century, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: post-colonial literature, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: from c 1900 -


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.


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 is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Johannesburg

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