Academic journal article Tydskrif vir Letterkunde

Tydskrif Vir Letterkunde: A Continuous Record of 75 years/Tydskrif Vir Letterkunde: 'N Aaneenlopende Rekord Van 75 Jaar

Academic journal article Tydskrif vir Letterkunde

Tydskrif Vir Letterkunde: A Continuous Record of 75 years/Tydskrif Vir Letterkunde: 'N Aaneenlopende Rekord Van 75 Jaar

Article excerpt

When the founders of the Afrikaanse Skrywerskring (Afrikaans Writers' Circle) held their founding meeting in Johannesburg on 10th September 1934, the complete Afrikaans translation of the Bible was only published the previous year and Afrikaans Literature was in its infancy. At the time the novelists Jochem van Bruggen, D. F. Malherbe, the Hobsons and C. J. Langenhoven were particularly popular. The best-known poets were Totius, A. G. Visser and C. M. van den Heever and earlier that year a debutant, the 21-year old W. E. G. Louw, introduced with Die ryke dwaas (The Rich Fool) an obviously individualist tendency to Afrikaans poetry. In 1936, the founding year of Jaarboek van die Afrikaanse Skrywerskring (Yearbook of the Afrikaans Writers' Circle), the forerunner of Tydskrif vir Letterkunde (Journal for Literature), South Africa, like much of the rest of the world, experienced the dire consequences of the Great Depression with thousands of people migrating from the rural areas to the cities. The Representation of Natives Act, Act 16 of 1936, was promulgated in that year, restricting the franchise of black people in the Cape Province--a prelude to a political and economic dispensation in South Africa that would dominate the remainder of the 20th century.

From the earliest issues of Jaarboek it was clear that the journal was to serve as a barometer of an emerging literature: cherishing literary ancestors, recording literary happenings, fostering international linkages, publishing young writers and developing an appropriate critical discourse. The place of Jaarboek and Tydskrif vir Letterkunde in the past 75 years can hardly be underestimated. The journal gives us a continuous record of early Afrikaans Literature onwards and its connectedness to an ever-changing social environment as well as the changing attitudes of writers and literary critics.

In the preceding three-quarters of a century each of the five previous editors--C. M. van den Heever (1936-57), Abel J. Coetzee (1957-66), Coenie Rudolph (1966-72), Elize Botha (1973-91), and Henning J. Pieterse (1992-2002)--has left his or her imprint on Tydskrif vir Letterkunde. What amounted to national or literary importance for one generation may have been suspect for a subsequent one; what was for one generation a sign of achievement, may have been insufferable onesidedness for another; whatever one's personal views Tydskrif vir Letterkunde has been built with the toil of those who have gone before. Throughout the time of its existence several other South African literary journals had been established with much promise only to flounder a few issues later. Tydskrif vir Letterkunde continued to be published, mostly with little secure financial backing; although always produced with diligence by successive editors and editorial committees. This is the appropriate time to thank the sponsors and advertisers who have supported Tydskrif vir Letterkunde over all these decades. Today, mainly authors' page fees fund it. We therefore thank every researcher who publishes in the journal, for it is their research and financial contributions that ensure its continued existence.

Tydskrif vir Letterkunde may today appear somewhat different from what was initially envisaged. Since 2003 the journal was transformed into "A Journal for African Literature". This vision enables us to participate in the description, theorization and analysis of African literatures and cultural practices. In 1936, only four decades following the Berlin Conference where Africa was divided among several European powers, the concept "African Literature" did not yet exist. Indeed, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (1902), Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan's Quest (1936) and the film Darkest Africa (1936), along with S. J. du Toit's Di Koningin van Skeba (The Queen of Sheba, 1898), deepened and even contributed to the establishment and distribution of colonialist perspectives on the Continent. The founders of Jaarboek were men of their age who, to the exclusion of everything else, focused on the immediate demands and needs of an emerging language and literature. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.