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Re-inscribing the author : an approach to the pragmatics of reading and interpretation in Sol Plaatje's Native Life in South Africa and Luke's Book of Acts

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dc.contributor.advisor Garuba, H.O.
dc.contributor.author Mkhatshwa, Elijah Johan
dc.date.accessioned 2011-08-12T10:33:27Z
dc.date.available 2011-08-12T10:33:27Z
dc.date.issued 1999
dc.identifier.other 263929
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10530/843
dc.description Submitted to the Faculty of Arts in fufilment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of English at the University of Zululand, 1999. en_US
dc.description.abstract The objective of this study is to affirm the presence of the intentional consciousness / stance in texts which purport to depict reality or real events. Intentionality, in the context of this thesis, is not conceived as a pre-existing thought or idea, which precedes the text, but as something, which inheres in the text and is produced in it. The Cartesian split between consciousness and being which the former conception enacts is here elided and authorial intention is read and produced in the process of writing itself. This distinction is significant because the main argument of this thesis is that authorial intention in texts that purport to depict real events and intervene in a particular socio-historical process for mobilizational purposes, leads to the production of a certain kind of text which deploys specific narrative strategies that consolidate its reading and rendering of events and re-inforce narrative closures. These intentionally motivated closures are embedded in narrative strategies, which are seen as both necessary and imperative for the consolidation and legitimation of the message and to foreclose other readings. Authorially motivated closures are predominant in classic realist texts in which as Roger Webster (1990:70) argues "there is a clear hierarchy of discourses controlled by a privileged central voice or narrator". This narrative voice or, to quote MacCabe, this "authorial and authoritarian 'metalanguage' judges and controls all other discourses in the text". And in classic realist texts in which the author does not seek to mask his presence by using other narrators and overtly seeks to move his audience in a specified direction, these closures become even more evident within the texture of the text. Texts of this nature are seen as means of achieving particular ends rather than as autonomous, independent units existing in a self-referential world of significance. Much of contemporary critical theory has unfortunately tried to efface the author from the text and/ or tried to marginalize the role of the author in the text. This thesis, however, seeks to re-inscribe the agency of the author in his / her intentional stance with regard to the text, more specifically in texts which depict real events and seek to impact upon the real world and the target audience. This thesis shows how this agency is enacted within the world of the text. Very briefly, this agency, I argue, is reproduced in narrative strategies which revolve around the twin poles of authority and legitimation; and these strategies operate at two levels within the text and these are the levels of the real events depicted in the narrative and then the prevailing discursive paradigms of the times. A narrative dialectic is thus erected between these two levels in the texts and this is mediated at every point by the active presence of the authorial engagement. The first chapter, which is largely introductory, serves as the theoretical clearing ground for the thesis. In it, I argue the case for intentionality by reviewing various critical positions in contemporary theory in relation to the author and the interpretation of texts. Thereafter I move on to spell out the ways in which authorial intention is embedded in realist narratives of the kind I have described. In my argument, I draw upon the critical practices and theoretical positions of postcolonial, feminist and Third World writers and critics whose work constitute an alternative tradition in which is inscribed specifically overt socio-political agencies. In the chapters that follow, I adopt the strategy of sketching out the historical and discursive context of the text. Thus chapter two focuses on the historical and discursive context of Luke's Book of Acts while chapter three focuses on the analysis of Acts. In the same manner, chapter four focuses on the historical and discursive context of Sol Plaatje's Native Life in South Africa while chapter five focuses on the analysis of the text (Native Life in South Africa). A brief conclusion sums up the argument of the thesis. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship University of Zululand en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Criticism and interpretation en_US
dc.title Re-inscribing the author : an approach to the pragmatics of reading and interpretation in Sol Plaatje's Native Life in South Africa and Luke's Book of Acts en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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