umu.sePublications
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Apartheid, liberalism, and romance: a critical investigation of the writing of Joy Packer
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.
1996 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This is the first full-length study of the writing of the South African Joy Packer (1905-1977), whose 17 works of autobiography and romantic fiction were primarily popular. Packer’s writing, which appeared mainly between 1945 and 1977, blends popular narrative with contemporary social and political discourses. Her first main works, three volumes of memoirspublished between 1945 and 1953, cover her experience of a wide area of the world before,during and after the Second World War: South Africa, Britain, the Mediterranean and theBalkans, and China. In the early 1950s she also toured extensive areas of colonial "DarkestAfrica." When Packer retired to the Cape with her British husband, Admiral Sir Herbert Packer,after an absence of more than 25 years, she adopted fiction as an alternative literary mode. Hersubsequent production, ten popular romantic novels and a further three volumes of memoirs, isnotable for the density of its sociopolitical commentary on contemporary South Africa.

This thesis takes as its starting-point the dilemma, formulated by the South African critic Dorothy Driver, of the white woman writing within a colonial environment which compels herto adopt contradictory, ambivalent and oblique discursive stances and strategies. The pragmaticintention of this thesis is, then, to (re)read Packer for her treatment of that problematic in thecontext of South Africa.

The approach adopted centres on the reciprocity within Packer’s writing between itsgeneric conventions and its discursive environment, broadly defined here as pre-1950 imperial Britain and, in the main, colonial and apartheid South Africa. Within a critical-biographical frame, attention is paid first to formal aspects of the popular memoir and the popular romanticnovel. Their discursive function vis-à-vis their apartheid environment is then examined withina series of comparative studies. The burden of the analysis rests, in part, on the identity of Packer’s fiction as politicised romans à thèse and, in part, on her personal identification withpolitical liberalism in South Africa, most notably the Cape liberalism of her youth and thevarious manifestations of liberalism under apartheid. By focusing on differing motifs—Packer’sprofessed adherence to political liberalism, her treatment of race within the idealising constructions of popular romance, the metonymy of the fictional family and the patriarchal state,and her portrayal of women held hostage by the racial and masculine other—the study discussesthe extent to which the contradictions predicted by Driver’s analysis exist within the apparentlyseamless fabric of Packer’s narratives.

The investigation concludes by recentring its focus on the narrativised identity of the white woman in a colonial environment, at the same time seeking confirmation of the several reasons for Packer’s writing to have gained only contemporary rather than lasting approval.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1996. , 247 p.
Series
Umeå studies in the humanities, ISSN 0345-0155 ; 128
Keyword [en]
South African women’s writing, popular romantic fiction, memoirs, apartheid, colonialism, liberalism, memory, literary amnesia, propaganda, roman a these, race, gender, patriarchy.
National Category
Languages and Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-141523ISBN: 91-7191-140-5 OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-141523DiVA: diva2:1155108
Projects
digitalisering@umu
Available from: 2017-11-07 Created: 2017-11-07 Last updated: 2017-11-07Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(18591 kB)2 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 18591 kBChecksum SHA-512
0716d7361e28bc98b3c3615e699ad72798edf6dd3e830530eed79b323805f581f5940218da65c744a4706b90923fb7694d0dd70eb65c553e406048bc25c432f8
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

By organisation
Department of language studies
Languages and Literature

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 2 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 55 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf