Female character subjectivity: the strategic use of nomadic writing by Eleanor Baker

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Abstract

This article serves as a re-evaluation of Eleanor Baker, a somewhat undervalued author within the Afrikaans literary system. Baker wrote love stories under various pseudonyms, but also 15 “serious” literary texts under her own name, striving for literary recognition and inclusion in the literary canon. All her novels dealt with women in crises, often in precarious personal relationships. It is possible, even probable, that this subject matter negatively impacted on the literary reception of her work. In this article Braidotti’s (2014) concept of nomadic writing is used as a theoretical framework to analyse Baker’s evolutionary representation of women and womanhood, with the focus on the reception of her work. The underlying hypothesis is that Baker stubbornly represented women as striving for new identities, scorning the traditional stereotyped feminine position of subordination to men. Notwithstanding the fact that the traditional literary “gatekeepers” were men, Baker embraced nomadic writing in her uncompromising representation of the Afrikaner woman and wife.

Keywords: canonisation processes; character subjectivity; concepts of literature; marginalisation; nomadic writing; patriarchy vs feministic approaches

 

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Vroulike karaktersubjektiwiteit: die strategiese gebruik van nomadiese skryf deur Eleanor Baker

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