‘An entangled bank’: Evolusionêre patrone in die Winterbach-tweeluik Klaaglied vir Koos en erf
Keywords:Afrikaans novels, Darwin in fiction, evolutionary narratives, Ingrid Winterbach, Lettie Viljoen, (neo-)Victorian studies
The novels of the contemporary Afrikaans writer, Ingrid Winterbach, display a distinctive predisposition towards naturalhistory and Darwinian ideas. Her fictionalisation of a nineteenth-century worldview is underpinned by an imaginative (neo- Victorian) exploration of Darwinian concepts such as growth, metamorphosis, transformation and evolution. In his study on the Darwinian imagination in Victorian fiction, George Levine identifies a gestalt of ideas (both detectable in novels and in science) which can be regarded as central to the Darwin project. Darwin’s metaphor of an entangled bank (which depicts life as an overcrowded space where numerous species compete, diversify and reproduce in a struggle for survival) will be specifically assessed in this evocritical reading of Winterbach’s earlier publications, Klaaglied vir Koos (“Dirge for Koos”, 1984) and Erf (1986).
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