Academic journal article Journal of Literary Studies

Accountability, Acknowledgement and the Ethics of "Quilting" in Antjie Krog's Country of My Skull (1)

Academic journal article Journal of Literary Studies

Accountability, Acknowledgement and the Ethics of "Quilting" in Antjie Krog's Country of My Skull (1)

Article excerpt

Summary

This paper is primarily concerned with accountability and acknowledgement, and their relationship to one another, in Antjie Krog's Country of My Skull (1998). Arguing that both accountability and acknowledgement become ethically problematic in Krog's transposition of one form of textual practice to another (for example, her transposing of testimony and of academic non-fictional texts into fictional narrative or poetry), the paper proposes that two very different ethical problems arise in Country of My Skull because of an elision of textual and generic frames that ultimately erases traces to textual "origins": whether that origin be the testimonies given at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearings, or other textual materials used by Krog in the making of this text. The ethical consequence of this muddying of genres and textual frames is twofold: first, the appropriation of individual testimonial voices and, second, plagiarism--two very different ethical transgressions which, nevertheless, bear consideration alongside one another since the two may be seen to emerge from the same textual practice as Krog's; what she refers to as "quilting". While Krog sees textual quilting as allowing for a multivocal text that does not present a singular or coherent notion of national truth, I will argue that it also allows Krog to transpose one form of textuality into a different generic frame altogether. While this is not in and of itself problematic, the ethical consequences of the transposition, reinterpretation, and transformation of one textual object to another require careful consideration. The paper ultimately suggests that fictional and poetic texts need to acknowledge and be accountable to the original texts that they transpose and transform by providing the reader with a clear and interpretable trace-back to that original.

Opsomming

Hierdie artikel handel hoofsaaklik oor toerekenbaarheid en erkenning, en die verband tussen die twee, in Antjie Krog se Country of My Skull (1998). Daar word geredeneer dat sowel toerekenbaarheid as erkenning eties problematies raak in Krog se transponering van een vorm van tekstuele praktyk na 'n ander (byvoorbeeld haar transponering van getuienis en akademiese niefiktiewe tekste tot fiksienarratief of poesie), en die artikel voer aan dat twee sterk uiteenlopende etiese probleme in Country of My Skull ontstaan weens die weglating van tekstuele en generiese rame wat uiteindelik die spore na tekstuele "oorspronge" uitwis: spore wat kon aandui of die oorsprong die getuienisse in die Waarheids-en-versoeningskommissie- (WVK-) verhore was, of ander tekstuele materiaal wat Krog in die skep van hierdie teks aangewend het. Die etiese gevolge van hierdie onduidelike vermenging van genres en tekstuele rame is tweevoudig: in die eerste plek is daar die toeeiening van individuele getuigende stemme, en in die tweede plek plagiaat--twee totaal uiteenlopende etiese vergrype wat nietemin oorweging verdien indien hulle naas mekaar geplaas word, aangesien albei voortspruit uit dieselfde tekstuele praktyk by Krog; 'n tegniek waarna sy verwys as "kwiltwerk". Waar Krog van mening is dat "kwiltwerk" voorsiening maak vir 'n veelstemmige teks wat nie 'n enkele of samehangende idee van nasionale waarheid weerspieel nie, redeneer ek dat dit Krog ook in staat stel om een vorm van tekstualiteit te transponeer tot 'n totaal ander generiese raam. Hoewel dit nie op sigself problematies is nie, moet daar versigtig gekyk word na die etiese gevolge van die transponering, herinterpretasie en transformasie van een tekstuele objek tot 'n ander. Die artikel stel uiteindelik voor dat fiksie- en poesietekste erkenning behoort te gee aan en verantwoordelikheid behoort te aanvaar teenoor die oorspronklike tekste wat getransponeer en getransformeer word. Dit kan gedoen word deur die leser te voorsien van 'n duidelike en interpreteerbare spoor terug na daardie oorspronklike tekste.

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Immediately following the completion of the TRC's national hearings, a great deal of scholarship emerged on the ethics involved in the archiving of the traumatic past. …

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