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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The liberal-Christian vision in Alan Paton's autobiography
Author:Ngwenya, Thengani H.ISNI
Periodical:Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa
Geographic term:South Africa
About person:Alan Stewart Paton (1903-1988)ISNI
Abstract:Theorists of autobiography are beginning to show an interest in what may be broadly described as the sociological functions and implications of autobiographical writing. This essay examines Alan Paton's conception and presentation of the ideology of liberalism as articulated in his two-volume autobiography 'Towards the mountain' (1980) and 'Journey continued' (1988). The meaning of Paton's liberal vision cannot be understood without taking into account his religious convictions. Paton, who failed to acknowledge the fact that the struggle for political power is not entirely compatible with the notion of 'Christian duty', clung to a fairly conservative and idealist version of Christian liberalism in a sociopolitical context (apartheid South Africa) where these values had been shown to be both ineffective and irrelevant. By anchoring his political philosophy in religious principles Paton positioned himself above conflicting political ideologies and presented his vision of the future in essentially utopian and transcendental terms. Alan Paton was born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, in 1903 and he died in 1988. Bibliogr., notes.