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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'I speak to you and I listen to the voice coming back': recording solitary confinement in the apartheid prison
Author:Roux, Daniel
Periodical:The English Academy Review
Geographic term:South Africa
political prisoners
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/10131750485310041
Abstract:In South Africa the prison memoir written under the apartheid regime has become a remarkably prevalent and influential form of autobiography. In many of these memoirs, individual experience is used to illustrate a collective predicament. The principal contention of the present author is that this distinction between collective and individual subjectivities in prison autobiographies does not necessarily correspond neatly to some anterior philosophical, literary or political predilection. He insists that in many ways the prison itself - as a total institution that takes as its object of control the human soul - equips the subject with the forms of consciousness that allow self-portrayal. The prison reflects and performs apartheid understandings of raced, gendered subjectivity. The author illustrates his argument with fragments from prison memoirs by Herman Charles Bosman, Breyten Breytenbach, Caesarina Makhoere, and Nelson Mandela. Bibliogr. [ASC Leiden abstract]