Archie L Dick Reveals The Hidden History of South Africa’s Book and Reading Cultures
The Hidden History of South Africa’s Book and Reading Cultures shows how the common practice of reading can illuminate the social and political history of a culture. This ground-breaking study reveals resistance strategies in the reading and writing practices of South Africans; strategies that have been hidden until now for political reasons relating to the country’s liberation struggles.
By looking to records from a slave lodge, women’s associations, army education units, universities, courts, libraries, prison departments, and political groups, Archie Dick exposes the key works of fiction and non-fiction, magazines, and newspapers that were read and discussed by political activists and prisoners.
Uncovering the book and library schemes that elites used to regulate reading, Dick exposes incidences of intellectual fraud, book theft, censorship, and book burning. Through this innovative methodology, Dick aptly shows how South African readers used reading and books to resist unjust regimes and build community across South Africa’s class and racial barriers.
“The prose style is excellent, devoid of academic pretension and jargon, and contains the occasional memorable turn of phrase. The sources are comprehensive and impressive. Archie Dick makes skilful use of them to draw plausible and judicious conclusions from what is often inevitably relatively thin evidence.” — Christopher Merrett
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