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Chris Thurman

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At Large: Reviewing the Arts in South Africa

As a ‘critic at large’, Chris Thurman has engaged with the work of theatre practitioners, musicians, dancers, visual artists and writers from across the South African arts spectrum. In this collection of journalistic essays, reviews and interviews produced over the course of five years, he not only explores the role of the arts – and the challenges facing artists – in a country still completing its transition to democracy, but also asks provocative questions about a range of social and political issues. Informed by an awareness of South Africa’s complex cultural history/histories, this book offers a snapshot (or, rather, a series of snapshots) of the arts in the country during the early years of the twenty-first century, providing insight into the production and reception of both ‘local’ and ‘global’ artistic phenomena.

ISBN-13: 9781863359276
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Sport versus Art: A South African Contest

Sport and the arts may compete for sponsors and for public interest, but do they necessarily stand in opposition to one another? Why is it so often assumed that sport is popular because it is an unintelligent endeavour? And why is it apparently inevitable that there is an element of elitism in the arts? Have we drawn a false dichotomy between the two pursuits? What do we make of arts practitioners and ‘intellectuals’ who are passionate about sport? Or sports buffs who take a keen interest in literature, music, theatre, dance and the visual arts?

Sport versus Art is a collection of essays, commentaries, personal memoirs and humorous pieces attempting to answer these and other questions about a fraught relationship at the heart of South Africa’s public life. There has never been a publication of this kind – it brings together a range of contributions from sport and arts journalists, arts practitioners, academics and other writers. The title’s appearance in 2010 is timely; the links between sport, the arts and public life in South Africa will continue to be a significant part of national discussions and debates at every level, from the shebeen and the braai all the way to parliament.

ISBN-13: 9781868145126
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Guy Butler: Reassessing a South African Literary Life

Guy Butler was a substantial public figure in South Africa over the second half of the twentieth century: professor, poet, playwright, autobiographer, historian and cultural politician. Nevertheless, his is not a familiar name to the majority of South Africans and – where he is known – Butler remains a problematic figure.

Even before his death in 2001, he was seen as a ‘grand old man’ in South African literature rather than as a writer for a new generation of readers. Yet much of Butler’s work was (and still is) subversive and intellectually compelling; it has enduring literary value. His response to the South African situation presents us with a challenge: to acknowledge frankly those elements in his oeuvre that distance him from us, without losing sight of the significance it holds.

This book makes use of Butler’s private correspondence and unpublished archive material, combining biographical insight with criticism of his publications in various genres to offer a balanced explication of his life and work.

ISBN-13: 9781869141837
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Text Bites: South African Poems, Plays, Stories and Non-fiction

This anthology is aimed at secondary school learners who have English as an additional language. It introduces learners to the features of various genres through works from a range of South African writers. Questions and writing activities accompany the texts, along with a wealth of supplementary material.

ISBN-13: 9780195985832