A study of the influence exerted by the British Shakespeare industry on the educational and critical reproduction of Shakespeare in South Africa.
Using Shakespeare as a representative figure, I examine the
pol itlcal mission of Engl ish studies in South Africa from the
nineteenth century to the present day. The primary material
is Shakespeare criticism and teaching guides produced in South
Africa and England throughout the period. There Is an attempt
to connect Shakespeare criticism and teaching both to its
historical context and to current debates about the teaching
of Engl ish I iterature in South Africa. Chapter One introduces
the central concerns and the structure of the thesis. In
Chapter Two, the criticism produced in the Cape Colony in the
first half of the nineteenth century is discussed in terms of
how it presents the social function of imaginative literature.
Chapter Three concerns the second half of the nineteenth
century, and includes an extended reflection on the
connections between Social Darwinism and the invention of
Engl ish studies. In Chapter Four, Sol Plaatje's tribute to
Shakespeare in Israel Gol lancz's A Book of Homage to
Shakespeare (Oxford, 1916) provides the basis for exploring
different ways in which the relationship between colonial
subject and metropol itan culture has been formulated. Chapter
Five surveys the 1930s, with arguments concerning the relation
of sub-cultures to the Iiterary canon structuring discussion
of how the relation to Shakespeare was negotiated by different
South African critics of the period. Chapter Six looks at the
1950s, examining the opposition between Shakespeare and
apartheid constructed by Iiberal critics during this period.
Chapter Seven covers the period from 1976 to the present, and
focuses on travelling theory, exploring the passage of post-
1968 radical Iiterary theory from the West to Engl ish
departments in South Africa. In the Conclusion, I consider
the prospects for Engl ish studies at both schools and
universities in a post-apartheid South Africa.