David’s Story has ratings and 19 reviews. Melissa said: I read this book for a class, and I can say it’s definitely not an easy read. However, as I b. David’s Story (Women Writing Africa) [Zoë Wicomb, Dorothy Driver] on Amazon. com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The publication of You Can’t. As richly imagined and stylistically innovative as Wicomb’s debut work,David’s Story is a mesmerizing novel, multilayered and multivoiced, at times elegiac, wry, .
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In differentiating coloured from white, coloured from black, and black from white, somatic appearance obviously played a crucial role. The seemingly aporetic question which her novel poses is: Finally, I contend that Wicomb responds to this question by con- sidering the impossibility of representing the body in the absence of dis- course.
In fact, she has him refer directly to his attempts at fashioning an ethnic identity for coloureds in the following passage: In the Cape Dutch society of the eighteenth century, zoee term signified both hybrid- ity and illegitimacy, and was applied to the mixed offspring of white male settlers and Khoi women on the pastoral frontier beyond the arable dis- tricts of Sstory and Drakenstein.
The Bastards were largely the product of casual, hypergamous miscegenation, rather than inter- marriage, between white men and Khoi women4 — a point which counters the remarkably tenacious perception that the early colonial society in the Cape was tolerant and open.
InDownloaded from http: In itself, of course, this preoccupation is not unusual in Western culture. Coetzee has noted that: The idea of the blood as the locus of life and identity is as old as our civiliz- ation.
And, in her melding of the notion of degeneracy with Davir, the sin of the father is visited on his sons. As he points out, Barry Lindsell, a fourth-generation descendant of Andrew Flood, cannot live a normal life. In other words, it legitimizes the hermeneutic procedure through which the somatic traces of what is assumed to be tainted blood constantly invoke the moment of original sin which brought with iwcomb a lapse from racial purity.
It reduces the body of the individual to a vehicle through which taint perpetuates itself and, in so doing, destines the individual to live his or her body as a bearer of a record of shame. Given this pervasive biologization of history, it would seem to follow that all coloured stories must ultimately be the same story, that is, a tragedy of blood. For instance, one finds that the triad of characters that forms the love triangle in the Le Fleur narrative — that is, Rachael, Antjie and Andrew — recurs in the Dirkse narrative in the form of Sally, Dulcie and David.
In its turn, this desire to belong derives from a sense of exclusion from the South African polity. Tragedy, here, hinges not sstory the irony of the irreducible tension between god and man, determinism and free will, but on the irony that the form of determinism at issue is partly self-determined. Seemingly, then, it should be possible to write a story that is not always already yet another version of the somewhat bathetic tragedy of blood.
Since the poetics of blood inscribes a history Downloaded from http: Not only does his description dsvid Dulcie not appear in the novel, but the narrator also constantly refers to his reluctance, or inability, to represent Dulcie pp.
Dulcie cannot be represented in language, because it is in and through language that the body of the black woman has been dismembered by being reduced to a vocabulary of signs.
Crucially, though, her focus now is on the way in which this discourse inscribed such difference by sexualizing the body of the black woman. According to Gilman,34 blacks, in the European view of humankind presented by the great chain of being, occupied an antithetical position to whites on the scale of humanity in all respects, including sexuality and beauty.
He encounters a vocabulary in which somatic features serve as material signifiers of a primitive concupiscence and therefore of the inherent racial difference between black and white. What he does not find, in other words, is that which is mediated and displaced by medical discourse, namely the subaltern body. It is for this reason that Wicomb implies that Eduard la Fleur, a. Andrew Flood, was the bastard son of an illicit sexual relationship between Cuvier and Madame la Fleur.
Equally tellingly, the reader finds that it is not only David who cannot represent Dulcie, but also his amanuensis, the steatopygous narrator and surrogate author of the novel. It is partly because of this portrayal of Dulcie as that which exceeds textual presentation that the novel is depicted as being incomplete in the lines of the poem with which it closes: In suggesting that the body cannot be recuperated because it is always inscribed in discourse, and therefore always already a text, the novel neither reduces the body to discourse nor places it outside discourse.
She belongs to no one. In renouncing any claim to the body of the black woman, by indicating that the body cannot be contained by a sign, Wicomb seeks rather to interrupt the opposition which founds the poetics of blood within colonial discourse, namely the opposition between the concupiscence of the black woman and the pudency of the white woman.
She attempts to destabilize the opposition that provided the scientific foundation for the thesis that there is an innate difference between the races. By suggesting that the body is that which remains after signification has taken place, she allows its absence in her novel to interrupt this opposition and its social functioning. In other words, the novel contends that, in part at least, the symbolic differentiation of the female body provided the ideological foundation for the imperial adventure in Africa.
This relationship not only repeats the other promiscuous love triangles that I have mentioned, but also extends the theme of bastardy to the production of the novel itself. The strong suggestion of biological determinism, here, would appear to indicate that the novel ultimately acknowledges its implication in the poetics of blood which it so daid deconstructs. However, what we have in this fusion of corporeal and lin- guistic images, is the use of hybridity as a dzvid for linguistic slippage — for promiscuous signs that cannot be pinned to a reference.
I do not acknowledge this scrambled thing as mine; I will have nothing more to do with it. I wash my hands of this story. It does not belong to this line, in that it cannot be contained and determined by the aesthetic of Downloaded from http: David Philip,pp.
All references are to this edition and appear in parentheses in the text. Text and Reception in Southern Africa, 15, 1 With regard to the relatively high incidence of miscegenation between white men and Khoi women on the pastoral frontier, where the ratio of white male to white female was uneven, he points out that davif miscegenation wicommb culminated in Christianization and intermarriage.
Anne Plumptre, Cape Town: The Van Riebeeck Society,pp. These Bastard Hottentots were then obliged to seek asylum in more remote parts, till at length, driven from the Sack river, as they had been before from the Bokkeveld, nothing remained for them but to retreat to the Orange river.
Cambridge UP,p. Cambridge UP,pp. Lawrence and Wishart,pp. Feminist Press,p. Central News Agency, n. David Philip and Johannes- burg: Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
David’s Story – Zoe Wicomb – Google Books
University of Chicago Press, p. An Introduction, Cape Town: David Philip and London: Rex Collings,p. Karel Schoeman, Cape Town: South African Library,p. They were an antidote to every amorous emotion. But while engaged in the primi- daviv employment of drawing water, a dispute arose between two nymphs, who instantly, like Irishmen, began to box most furiously.
And then such a vociferous cawing commenced among the other fair as was never heard out of a rookery.
In their smoked carosses, dirty skins, half wicmob features and wild gestures they were like so many devils. Driver also remarks on the implication, here, namely that David is a descendant of Cuvier.
Dozens of groups are staking their claim, including the Griquas. Significantly, as Driver, op. Remember me on this computer.
Bastards and Bodies in Zoë Wicomb’s David’s Story | Mike Marais –
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