English Literature in Southern Africa: Nelm at 30(1)

By Grant, Lynne | African Research & Documentation, January 1, 2010 | Go to article overview

English Literature in Southern Africa: Nelm at 30(1)


Grant, Lynne, African Research & Documentation


Vision

The National English Literary Museum champions the cause of the humane values such as tolerance, acceptance and inclusivity so nobly and memorably embodied in our literature. All South Africans who write creatively and imaginatively in English have a place in our museum, irrespective of their origin, mother tongue, personal convictions or age. Furthermore, all South Africans appreciate the significance of this body of work and its contribution to world literature.

Mission

To maintain and extend the nation's leading collection of southern African English literary heritage and to serve as a source of expertise through exemplary research, conservation, exhibitions and public programmes.

The National English Literary Museum (NELM) is one of South Africa's greatest treasures (website: http:/ /www.ru.ac.za/nelm). Tucked away in the university town of Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, NELM collects all creative writing by southern African authors who write in English, and in the following genres: novels, short stories, plays, essays, poetry, theatre, television and film scripts, autobiography, travel, letters, memoirs and diaries. Critical writing on the authors and their works is also collected, as well as writings on related subjects such as literary history, censorship and literary awards. These materials are collected in all formats: books, study guides, theses, literary manuscripts, press clippings and audio-visual material.

This article will provide an overview of NELM's history, its collections, research and outreach programmes, satellite museums and finally, a look to the future.

NELM's beginnings

Nothing much, if anything, had been done about collecting and conserving South African literature in English until 1960, when a professor from Texas visited South Africa and, with considerable success, persuaded some local writers to donate or sell their literary manuscripts to his library. One of the collections of manuscripts which ended up in American hands was that of Herman Charles Bosman. Professor Guy Butler, himself a noted author and the major force behind the drive to teach South African literature at university level, organised a counter-offensive and in 1972 Rhodes University's Institute for the Study of English in Africa sponsored the foundation of the Thomas Pringle Collection for English in Africa, with the express purpose of collecting books and manuscripts illustrating the role of English as a language of South Africa. Many literary friends of Butler contributed their manuscripts, typescripts, scrapbooks, press-clippings and other memorabilia to this project. In July 1974 the National English Documentation Centre was established as an independent body. This then became the National English Literary Museum and Documentation Centre and in 1980, the National English Literary Museum (NELM) became a Declared Cultural Institution under the national government.

NELM also collects English literature and criticism about that literature from South Africa's neighbours: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland. This provides a unique perspective on the region as a whole and on the way in which citizens of these countries interact with and are influenced by each other. Many overseas authors have set works in the region, thus providing a unique "outsider" perspective on southern Africa and her diverse cultures. These works also form part of the collection.

Although many continue to believe that NELM's focus is on the writings of 1820 Settlers and their descendants, the truth is very different. Literary materials are collected without regard to the race, age, gender, social standing, academic qualifications, political or religious views of the authors. And no judgements are made regarding the quality of the material: if it has a South African connection and is published in English, NELM staff will try to obtain a copy. Translations into English from other South African languages are also kept.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

English Literature in Southern Africa: Nelm at 30(1)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.