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Archie L Dick Discusses Charles Dickens and Unsolved Mysteries in South Africa’s Book History

	The Hidden History of South Africaâ��s Book and Reading CulturesMarie-Therese C le Roux attended a recent presentation by Archie L Dick, author of The Hidden History of South Africa’s Book and Reading Cultures, at the conference on Print, Publishing and Cultural Production in South Africa, co-hosted by the University of Pretoria and Oxford Brookes University.

Le Roux reports that Dick’s presentation focused on the way in which book history “intersects significantly with other areas of society and culture throughout history”. He explained how Charles Dickens’ writing impacted on South Africa, saying that the “powerful undercurrents of class conflict in these works played an insidious role in inspiring young intellectuals during the liberation struggle against the apartheid regime”. He also discussed one of the unsolved mysteries in the history of South Africa’s language history:

By sheer serendipity I was lucky enough to attend the first sessions of the Print, Publishing and Cultural Production in (South) Africa Seminar at the University of Pretoria Graduate Centre this morning. Supported by the University of Pretoria, Oxford Brookes University, the British Academy and the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS), the event brought together scholars from the motley fields that kindle the interdisciplinary study of Book History. The sessions gave both an introduction to the value of Book History in general and some unique interpretations of what this field means in Africa, where “books” do not always involve either paper or text. Although I was only able to attend the first few presentations, they were so thought-provoking that I would like to briefly share their essence here in the next few posts, beginning with the first presentation of the day.

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