Advertisement

‘The Narcissism of Small Differences’: Plagiarism in South African Letters

  • Kate HighmanEmail author
Chapter
  • 376 Downloads
Part of the New Directions in Book History book series (NDBH)

Abstract

Highman’s chapter explores how, in South African letters, both instances of plagiarism and allegations of plagiarism have often served to mark cultural difference – even while attesting to an active (if disavowed) practice of cultural translation. Highman shows how transcultural sources are frequently effaced in favour of presenting a distinctly national voice, with plagiarism serving to obscure such sources. The chapter traces a debate between the English-speaking poet Stephen Watson and the Afrikaans poet Antjie Krog over their respective adaptations of the San orature recorded in the colonial Bleek-Lloyd archive, contextualising it within a long history of appropriative white writing about indigenous peoples, and arguing that Freud’s ‘narcissism of minor differences’ is at work in the dispute by these white writers over these indigenous texts.

Keywords

South African Plagiarism Afrikaans Literature Bushman Folklore Cream Pies 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Bibliography

  1. Banks, Andrew, Bushmen in a Victorian World: The Remarkable Story of the Bleek Lloyd Collection of Bushman Folklore (Cape Town: Double Storey, 2006).Google Scholar
  2. Bleek, W. H. I. and L. C. Lloyd, Reynard the Fox in South Africa; Or, Hottentot Fables and Tales (London: Trübner, 1864).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. ———, Specimens of Bushman Folklore (London: George Allen, 1911).Google Scholar
  4. Chidester, David, ‘Classify and Conquer: Friederich Max Müller, Indigenous Religious Traditions, and Imperial Comparative Religion’, in Beyond Primitivism, ed. Jacob K. Olupona (New York: Routledge, 2004), pp. 71–88.Google Scholar
  5. Cope, Jack and Uys Krige (eds.), The Penguin Book of South African Verse (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968).Google Scholar
  6. De Kock, Leon, ‘Naming of Parts, or, How Things Shape Up in Transcultural Literary History’, Studying Transcultural Literary History, ed. Gunilla Lindberg-Wada (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2006), pp. 12–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Eaton, Tom, ‘Koeksisters vs. Cream Pies’, Mail & Guardian, 3 March 2006, Friday Supplement, p. 5.Google Scholar
  8. Eliot, T.S., ‘Four Quartets (London: Faber & Faber, 1944).Google Scholar
  9. Fabian, Johannes, Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object (New York: Columbia UP, 2002).Google Scholar
  10. Frazer, James, The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (New York: Macmillan, 1922).Google Scholar
  11. The Folk-lore Journal Volumes I–II, ed. Lucy Lloyd, (Cape Town: The South African Folk-lore Society, 1879–1880).Google Scholar
  12. Freud, Sigmund, The Penguin Freud Library Volume 12: Civilization, Society and Religion, general ed. James Strachey, Volume 12 ed. Albert Dickson (London: Penguin, 1991).Google Scholar
  13. Gagiano, Annie, ‘“By What Authority?” Presentations of the Khoisan in South African English Poetry’, Alternation: International Journal for the Study of Southern African Literature and Language, 6.1 (1999), pp. 155–173.Google Scholar
  14. ———, ‘Just a Touch of the Cultural Trophy-hunter’, Litnet, 21 February 2006.Google Scholar
  15. Gladwell, Malcolm, ‘Something Borrowed’, The New Yorker, 22 November 2004.Google Scholar
  16. Guenther, Mathias G, Bushman Folktales: Oral Traditions of the Nharo of Botswana and the |Xam of the Cape (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden GMBH, 1989).Google Scholar
  17. Harris, Ashleigh, ‘Accountability, Acknowledgement and the Ethics of Quilting in Antjie Krog’s Country of My Skull’, Journal of Literary Studies, 22:1 (2006), pp. 27–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hewitt, Roger, Structure, Meaning and Ritual in the Narratives of the Southern San (Johannesburg: Witwatersrand UP, 2008).Google Scholar
  19. Jenkins, Elwyn, ‘San Tales Again: Acknowledgment and Appropriation’, English Academy Review, 27:1 (2010), pp. 24–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Khumalo, Fred, ‘If Words Don’t Come Easy, Some Simply Filch Them’, Sunday Times, 9 December 2009.Google Scholar
  21. Kirby, Robert, ‘Cheats, Loots and Thieves’, Mail & Guardian, 24 February 2005, p. 28.Google Scholar
  22. Koorts, W. P. & Slotegraaf, A., ‘/Xam sidereal narratives and Gideon Retief von Wielligh’s Boesman-stories 2’. Conference Paper presented at the 2005 African Astronomical History Symposium, Cape Town.Google Scholar
  23. Krog, Antjie, Country of My Skull (Johannesburg: Random House, 1998).Google Scholar
  24. ———, ‘Creative Non-Fiction: A Conversation’, Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa, 23:1 (2011), pp. 57–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. ———, ‘From ||Khabbo to Zapiro’, in Duncan Brown, To Speak of this Land: Identity and Belonging in South Africa and Beyond (Scottsville: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2006), pp. xiii–xx.Google Scholar
  26. ———, ‘Krog: “Met Hierdie Liggaam Is Ek”’. Interview with Willemien Brümmer, Die Burger, 2 June 2006, p. 15.Google Scholar
  27. ———, the stars say ‘tsau’: |Xam Poetry of Dia!kwain, Kweiten-ta-||ken, |A!kunta, Han#kass’o, and ||Kabbo (Cape Town: Kwela, 2004).Google Scholar
  28. ———, ‘Stephen Watson and the Annals of Plagiarism’, New Contrast, 34 (2006), pp. 72–77.Google Scholar
  29. Leach, Edmund R. and Herbert Weisinger, ‘Golden Bough or Gilded Twig?’, Daedalus, 90:2 (1961), pp. 371–399.Google Scholar
  30. Markowitz, Arthur, The Rebirth of the Ostrich (Gaborone: National Museum and Art Gallery, 1971).Google Scholar
  31. ———, With Uplifted Tongue: Stories, Myths and Fables of the South African Bushmen Told in Their Manner (Cape Town: Central News Agency, 1956).Google Scholar
  32. Marais, Eugène, ‘Die Siel van die Mier en Maurice Maeterlinck’, Die Huisgenoot, 6 January 1928, pp. 8–9.Google Scholar
  33. ———, Die Skepbekertjie: Oor die Voëls van Witklip (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1968).Google Scholar
  34. ———, Dwaalstories en Ander Vertellings (Kaapstad, Stellenbosch and Bloemfontein: Nationale Pers, 1927).Google Scholar
  35. ———, ‘The Yellow Streak’, Standpunte, 18:6 (1965), pp. 40–43.Google Scholar
  36. Randall, Marilyn, Pragmatic Plagiarism: Authorship, Profit, and Power (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sacks, Peter, In These Mountains (London: Collier Macmillan, 1986).Google Scholar
  38. Schmidt, Sigrid, ‘Khoisan Folktales: Original Sources and Republications’, African Studies, 41: 2 (1982), pp. 203–212.Google Scholar
  39. Swart, Sandra, ‘The Construction of Eugène Marais as an Afrikaner Hero’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 30:4 (2004), pp. 847–867.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. ———, ‘Mythic Bushmen in Afrikaans Literature: The Dwaalstories of Eugène N. Marais’, Current Writing Text and Reception in Southern Africa, 15:3 (2003), pp. 91–108.Google Scholar
  41. Thornton, Robert, ‘“This Dying Out Race”: W.H.I. Bleek’s Approach to the Languages of Southern Africa’, Social Dynamics, 9: 2 (1983), pp. 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Van Reybrouck, D., Die Plaag: Die Stil Geknaag van Skrywers, Termiete en Suid-Afrika, trans. Daniel Hugo (Pretoria: Protea, 2013).Google Scholar
  43. Van Vuuren, Helize, ‘Plagiaat? Appropriasie? Kulturele Oorplanting? Huldiging?: Brandende Kwessies Rondom Mondelinge Tradisies – Eugène Marais En Die San Opnuut Bekyk’, Journal of Literary Studies, 24: 4 (2008), pp. 85–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. ———, ‘Plagiaat, Navolging En Intertekstualiteit By Die Vorming Van Literêre Reputasies’, Litnet, n.d.Google Scholar
  45. Verstraete, Claire, ‘Plagiarism: The Cultural Outbreak’, Unpublished MA thesis (Cape Town: University of Cape Town, 2007).Google Scholar
  46. Von Wielligh, G. R., Boesman-Stories: Deel 1. Mitologie en legendes (De Nationale Pers: Cape Town, 1919).Google Scholar
  47. ———, Boesman-Stories: Deel II. Dierstories en Ander Verhale (De Nationale Pers: Cape Town, 1920).Google Scholar
  48. ———, Boesmans-Stories. Deel IV. Gemengde Vertellings, mees van ‘n Awontuurlike Aard (De Nationale Pers: Cape Town, 1921).Google Scholar
  49. Walder, Dennis, Postcolonial Nostalgias: Writing, Representation and Memory (Abingdon: Routledge, 2011).Google Scholar
  50. Watson, Stephen, ‘The Annals of Plagiarism: Antjie Krog and the Bleek and Lloyd Collection’, New Contrast, 33: 2 (2005), pp. 48–61.Google Scholar
  51. ———, The Return of the Moon: Versions from the |Xam (Cape Town: Carrefour, 1991).Google Scholar
  52. Wessels, Michael. Bushman Letters: Interpreting |Xam Narrative (Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2010).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Humanities ResearchUniversity of the Western CapeCape TownSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations