Karina Magdalena Brink: Truer than Fiction

Nadine Gordimer is one of the most prominent South African writers. In 1991, she received the Nobel Prize in Literature. My thesis is an exploration of Gordimer’s post-apartheid work, focusing primarily on the four novels she published between 1994 and 2005: None to Accompany Me (1994), The House Gun (1998), The Pickup (2001), and Get a Life (2005). The thesis is divided into three parts. In the first part, I discuss Nadine Gordimer’s role as a South African writer as she defines it, and offer a brief biographical outline of her life with an emphasis on her literary career and relevant facts for this study. The second part of this thesis provides the contemporary socio-historical and literary context for Gordimer’s work after 1994. It begins with a short overview of South Africa’s recent history, with emphasis on the first dozen years following the 1994 elections and continues with an overview of the contemporary literary scene in South Africa. The last part of the thesis constitutes a thematic assessment of Gordimer’s fiction and non-fiction after 1994 in the light of the previously discussed contexts. For the analysis of Gordimer’s fiction, I drew upon such schools of thought as postcolonial theory, cultural studies, ecocriticism, feminism and (post)modernism, as well as the rich critical reception of her work. This thesis illuminates the continued importance of Nadine Gordimer’s work, not only in her home country, delighted and troubled by its newly-found freedom, but also across the world, where in many parts such freedom is still far from being taken for granted.

(University of Salzburg)