Academic journal article Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies

Country of My skull/Skull of My Country: Krog and Zagajewski, South Africa and Poland/land Van My skedel/Skedel Van My Land: Krog En Zagajewski, Suid-Afrika En Pole

Academic journal article Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies

Country of My skull/Skull of My Country: Krog and Zagajewski, South Africa and Poland/land Van My skedel/Skedel Van My Land: Krog En Zagajewski, Suid-Afrika En Pole

Article excerpt

Abstract

Country of my skull/Skull of my country: Krog and Zagajewski, South Africa and Poland

In the ninth poem of the cycle "land van genade en verdriet" ("country of grace and sorrow") in the collection "Kleur kom nooit alleen nie" ("Colour never comes on its own"), Antjie Krog contends that the old is "stinking along" ever so cheerfully/ robustly in the new South African dispensation. This could also hold true for the new democratic Poland. Krog and the Polish poet Adam Zagajewksi could, in fact, be described as "intimate strangers; specifically with regard to the mirrored imagery of "country of my skull"/"skull of my country" present in their work. The notion of "intimate strangers" may be seen as pointing toward the feminine dimension of subjectivity, which could be elaborated along the lines of Bracha Ettinger's concept of "matrixial borderlinking". Ettinger has made a significant contribution to the field of psychoanalysis, building on Freud and Lacan. She investigates the subject's relation to the m/Other, and the intimate matrixial sharing of "phantasm", "jouissance" and trauma among several entities. Critical of the conventional "phallic" paradigm, Ettinger turns to the womb in exploring the "borderlinking" of the I and the non-I within the matrix (the psychic creative "borderspace"). With these considerations as point of departure, and with specific reference to the closing poem in Krog's "Country of my skull" and Zagajewski's "Fire" (both exploring "weaning" experiences in recent personal and public history), I intend to show how the public/political is connected to the personal/psychological, and vice versa, and how committed literary works like those of Krog and Zagajewski can be clarified further from a psychoanalytical perspective. The image of the skull in the texts under scrutiny is investigated with recourse to the Lacanian notion of the "cavity", as adopted and adapted by Ettinger. True to the mirror experience as described within psychoanalysis, this exercise in mirroring Krog and Zagajewski has confirmed the ambiguous, eluding and illusory nature of identification and identity.

Key concepts:

Ettinger, Bracha L. Krog, Antjie: Country of my skull poetry Poland; Polish literature compared to South Africa; South African literature psychoanalysis: feminist

Opsomming

Land van my skedel/Skedel van my land: Krog en Zagajewski, Suid-Afrika en Pole

In die negende gedig van die siklus "land van genade en verdriet" in die bundel "Kleur kom nooit alleen nie", beweer Antjie Krog dat crie oue "lustig saamstink" in crie nuwe Suid-Afrikaanse bedeling. Dit kan ook geld vir die nuwe, demokratiese Pole. Krog en die Poolse digter Adam Zagajewski kan in der waarheid as "intieme vreemdelinge" beskryf word, spesifiek wat betref die spieelmetaforiek van "land van my skedel"/"skedel van my land" in hulle werk. Die begrip "intieme vreemdelinge" suggereer die vroulike dimensie van subjektiwiteit, wat verder verken kan word aan die hand van Bracha Ettinger se konsep "matriksiale grensverbinding". Ettinger hei, voortbouend op Freud en Lacan, 'n belangrike bydrae tot die terrein van die psigoanalise gelewer. Sy ondersoek die relasie van die subjek en die moeder-as-Ander, en die intieme matriksiale deel/uitruil van "phantasme", "jouissance" en trauma tussen verskeie entiteite. Ettinger rig haar, vanwee haar kritiese standpuntinname ten opsigte van die konvensionele "falliese" paradigma, op die baarmoeder ten einde die "grensverbinding" van die ek en die nie-ek binne die matriks (die psigiese kreatiewe "grensruimte") te eksploreer. Met hierdie oorwegings as vertrekpunt, en met spesifieke verwysing na die slotgedig van Krog se "Country of my skull" ("Land van my skedel") en Zagajewski se "Vuur" (wat albei speen-/afwen-ervarings in resente persoonlike en publieke geskiedenis as tema het), wil ek aandui hoe die openbare/politieke en die persoonlike/psigologiese met mekaar saamhang, en hoe betrokke literere werke soos die van Krog en Zagajewski verder verklaar kan word vanuit 'n psigologiese perspektief. …

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