1st Edition

Finding My Way Reflections on South African Literature

By Duncan Brown Copyright 2024

    This book reflects on South African literature from the perspective of 2020. It emerges from Duncan Brown’s experiences of three decades of working in this field of writing and scholarship. It is a personal intellectual exploration and an engagement with the institutional history of literary studies in South Africa and elsewhere.

    Finding My Way also attempts to find more creative, engaging and intriguing modes of writing about literature and the humanities universally. It seeks to recover a sense of the imaginative, the literary, and the affective, not only as things to value in the literary texts we read but also as ways of understanding and reading texts, as ways of writing criticism—of registering how books make us feel, as well as how they make us think.

    Print edition not for sale in Sub Saharan Africa.


    Introduction: Finding My Way

    Chapter One: Reimagining South African Literature

    Chapter Two: Reimagining the ‘Literary’

    Chapter Three: Reading ‘With’

    Chapter Four: Writing Belief, Reading Belief

    Chapter Five: Creative Non-Fiction: A Conversation with Antjie Krog

    Chapter Six: Oral Literature in South Africa: Twenty Years On

    Chapter Seven: ‘That Man Patton’: The Personal History of a Book

    Conclusion: Recursive Futures? Or: What Rough Beast?




    Duncan Brown is professor of English at the Centre for Multilingualism and Diversities Research at the University of the Western Cape. He has widely published in South African literary and cultural studies.

    'In various registers, Duncan Brown meditates on fiction, non-fiction, orature, beliefs and old classics. His aim, ultimately, is not only to reframe academic approaches but to encourage modes of writing that come from the heart: writing that might help us claim new forms of agency in years to come.'

    –– Rita Barnard, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania