Nostalgia as Response to a Society in Transition: The Work of the South African Writer Dana Snyman

By Gerhard van der Linde.

Published by The International Journal of Literary Humanities

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

First described in the seventeenth century as an illness caused by homesickness amongst Swiss soldiers on service in foreign territories, nostalgia in general positions the subject in response and in relationship to certain spatial contexts removed from it in time and/or space. In the writings of the South African author Dana Snyman, the awareness of worlds that are irretrievably lost or fading away in post-apartheid South Africa inspires both a sense of loss and ironical detachment, highlighting the distance that separates the remembering self and what is remembered. The narrator observes and records the dilemma of South Africans who feel themselves alienated from what they perceive as almost a foreign country. Many of the characters, objects and events narrated are part of the collective memories of South Africans who grew up between the 1960s and 1990s, but Snyman’s narrator remains ambiguous towards identification with these images from the past.

Keywords: Nostalgia, Dana Snyman, Literature and transition, South African literature

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp.51-58. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 418.662KB).

Dr. Gerhard van der Linde

Subject Collection Developer, Information Resources Content Management, University of South Africa, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

Dr. Gerhard van der Linde is a subject collection developer in the University of South Africa Library. He has published and delivered papers on literary topics, the book and cyberculture. His current interests include librarians in literature, the library and metaphor and nostalgia.