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NOVEL CLAIRE PDF

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Claire's Race is the true story of a young girl who was diagnosed with a very rare form of . beginning of Chapter Four and finish the novel another day. When. Journal of Franco-Irish Studies Volume 2 Issue 1 "Crisis / La Crise" Article 8 Editors: Lauren Clark and Mathew Hayward Reading the Novel: A Gothicized. Longing and Belonging: Emancipation Moments and Ubuntu in Claire Robertson's The Spiral House Cheryl Stobie ABSTRACT Claire Robertson's novel.


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Successfully reported this slideshow. We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime. Upcoming SlideShare. Like this document? Why not share! An annual anal Embed Size px. Start on. Show related SlideShares at end. WordPress Shortcode. Published in: Two characters, the Communist farmer Francis Shone, and the travelling American, Frank, act as catalysts for her as she ruptures her bonds of belonging in the interests of establishing a fully autonomous subjecthood.

There is a large intellectual price to be paid when either of these approaches are [sic] followed […].

It is paid not least in misrepresentations of colonialism and men. And there is a large intellectual gain when gender and feminist insights are integrated into every aspect of history.

They have potential for transforming our vision of the past. Although his focus is particularly on the application of Ubuntu for the law, while my interest is more general, and although gender as a category is a lacuna in his work, there are various main points which are of particular relevance to my reading of The Spiral House.

Praeg posits Ubuntu as a type of critical humanism, entailing an investigation of what being human means, a mode of critique of the paradoxes and aporias in dominant intellectual traditions, and a vision of an emancipatory praxis based on mutuality and respect. He conceptualises Ubuntu as bearing an uncanny relationship to modernity. Following Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, Praeg mentions two connected fears associated with the Enlightenment, both associated with naming and cataloguing impulses: Praeg visualises a role for Ubuntu in the global imaginary, foregrounding a common humanity, although he maintains that this necessitates an ongoing deconstruction of two basic Western principles: This ambivalent position of Ubuntu creates its uncanny effect.

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While the history of Western modernity has gory and repugnant aspects, Ubuntu can also be harnessed in the interests of conservatism and traditionalism. For Ubuntu to fulfil its emancipatory potential, it needs to engage in a deep dialectic with global modernity, in which a process of reciprocal critique occurs, and in which the values of empathy and altruism are emphasised.

Writing is one form of communication which can be characterised by the longing for freedom and authenticity: Participating in the debate about the potential of Ubuntu to validate collectivism, interpersonal relationships and an ethic of reconciliation, thereby contributing to social justice, Siphokazi Magadla and Ezra Chitando consider the emancipatory potential of Ubuntu when challenged by the power of hegemonic masculinity to inflict sexual and gender-based violence.

It is thus a site of contestation between reactionary and progressive impulses. One of the sites where Ubuntu can be demonstrated or refused is in the embrace of the home, which, as Rosemary Marangoly George points out, is a complex, auratic and emblematic term: One distinguishing feature of places called home is that they are built on select inclusions. The inclusions are grounded in a learned or taught sense of a kinship that is extended to those who are perceived as sharing the same blood, race, class, gender, or religion.

Membership is maintained by bonds of love, fear, power, desire and control. Homes are manifest on geographical, psychological and material levels.

They are places that are recognized as such by those within and those without. They are places of violence and nurturing. Home is a place to escape to and a place to escape from.

Its importance lies in the fact that it is not equally available for all. Home is the desired place that is fought for and established as the exclusive domain of a few. It is not a neutral place. It is community. Communities are not counter-constructions but only extensions of home, providing the same comforts and terrors on a larger scale. The fact that the two women are not referred to by name illustrates their class status as owners of property, including slaves, as well as their lack of individuality.

They share a callousness and a focus on the continuation of their farm and their genealogical line. She was daughter, yes, but also chattel, and now lessened, now lesser. Robertson 24 In the present day, such sudden-onset baldness would be interpreted as alopecia, a genetic condition exacerbated by stress such as might have resulted from sending the girl to a neighbouring farm to attract a husband, using her fetishised virginity as a bargaining chip.

Although Bastiaan is revealed by his lover, Jansie, to have been kind in his mutual passion with her, his demise occurs as a result of a hunting orgy he engages in, leading to sepsis from the damage caused by rifle recoil.

Despite his capacity for sensitivity, the greed associated with his class, age and gender kills him. Gottlieb Calcoen is a sanctimonious character who, thanks to his marriage, has ascended the social scale, and thus has the time and means to pursue his pseudo-scientific interests.

His obsession with colour leads him to catalogue all occupants of the farm, in an enterprise typical of Enlightenment and colonial ideologies, according to criteria including skin tone, age and race.

His hubristic ideology is the antithesis of Ubuntu. Politically divergent though they are, both characters feel an obligation to act the part of the master, something which Trijn abhors, stating incredulously that she cannot believe that Le Voir abrogates his freedom to become a ruler, although she sees that it is partly because of his passion for the young mistress, but mainly because of the farm and its trove of flowers which he intends to collect and study.

The field of obsession of Calcoen and Le Voir differs, as does the degree of violence they display, but both place knowledge above people, self over other, and both refute the principles of Ubuntu. The bonded man, Melt, occupies an in-between status in the pecking order of the farm. Above me?

Below the young mistress — but with his sex and status at such odds he was also apart from her how so ever he must yoke his movements to her humours. He proves himself to have an inherent decency and caring beyond any precepts or religion. His name suggests that he has a softness and fluidity which allow him to refute conventions of aggressive masculinity. The name Katrijn van de Kaab is a resonant one. The name Katrijn comes from the Greek word meaning pure or clean Johnson and Sleigh This legend is commemorated in Catherine wheels, fireworks which rotate in a spiral, emitting coloured sparks.

The surname thus references a history of oppression in terms of slavery, naming, identity and belonging, but it also pays tribute to an emancipatory lineage of fiery resistance. Despite the privileges due to her station, however, Trijn displays camaraderie with the slaves, working and sleeping alongside them. She comes to form a strong attachment to Jansie, whose stolen baby she helps to locate by entering the uncanny white spiral house, a whited sepulchre constructed as a monument to racist monomania.

Before entering the house, Trijn dreams of it in terms of a spiral, a labyrinth and a maze, as seen from above, her viewpoint allowing her to plot her path.

Sacrificial victims were placed in the labyrinth, and Theseus vowed to kill the Minotaur to end the bloodshed. With the assistance of the princess Ariadne Theseus slew the Minotaur, and afterwards invented a dance ritually re-enacting the path he took.

Daedalus and his son Icarus were also imprisoned in the labyrinth, and Daedalus fashioned wings for them to escape, although Icarus plunged to his death in the sea. This potent myth deals with family, betrayal, otherness, punishment, heroism, quest, escape, destruction and the creation of art. The labyrinth is contradictory, as it imprisons but offers knowledge, freedom and redemption to the courageous voyager. Unlike Theseus and so many traditional heroes, Trijn is a female quester who proves her mettle, not by slaying, but by saving a life viewed as suitable for experimentation.

This life is representative of many, as Trijn realises, questioning: Or merely make some law that said we chose to be thus and must expect what came our way?

Trijn perceives the power, violence and heartless deployment of the law that lie at the centre of colonialism, acting on the bodies and psyches of the subjugated. In true quest fashion, Trijn returns, transformed, to her own home in Cape Town and forms a family of choice with the baby and a frequently-visiting Melt. This is a hidden story of cruelty, disease, disability, survival and the power of love. The name given her by Trijn therefore remains unknown.

By contrast, the eighteenth-century chronotope of The Spiral House offers the reader a surrogate mother-figure who manages to save a baby from particularly unjust slavery as her mother should by rights have been a free woman and experimentation based on theories of scientific racism. This half of the novel clearly shows the inhumane effects of racism, slavery, naming and cataloguing, but it also illustrates the possibilities for loving relationships, family connections, an Ubuntu-style ethic of care and the writing process as assuaging longing and offering belonging.

The dual narrative form of the novel functions, as I suggested earlier, as a double helix, twinned spirals both connected and apart. The talismanic object linking with is the book written by Trijn for her daughter, which is being read by the two main characters in the section set during the apartheid era. Policies originating in Enlightenment concepts have now been calcified and codified.

The fixation with the myth of race has resulted in a classification system and a series of laws which are being applied ever more stringently as South Africa becomes a republic; at the same time, even inhumane race- based acts such as beating and murder can escape punishment.

The act of accepting a new name as a nun entails an immolation of identity, and is one signifier of her obedience to her order, which also requires of her poverty and chastity. St Vergilius d. He encountered trouble with the pope because of his heterodox opinions: Like her saint-namesake, behaving contrary to the prevailing supremacist ethos of the time, Sister Vergilius quickly formed an attachment with the six-year-old Jacob Kobe, whose mother had abandoned him.

A Gothicized "Enterprise of Health" It might be objected that reading and thinking can only be of minor import in the face of crisis. The question is not: What new thoughts does it make it possible to think? What new emotions does it make it possible to feel?

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What new sensations and perceptions does it open in the body? Deleuze and Guattari , xv. These questions encourage the reader to focus deeply upon the ways in which feelings, emotions and thoughts can offer journeys in syncretic perception, where words and tactile experiences interweave.

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But how does the act of reading acquire Gothic attributes? In an effort to communicate what we encounter at the very heart of the experience of reading, Bennett says: Bennett , Derrida , The appearance of the hand imparts an awareness of the body; flesh and phantom form a symbiotic relationship with thoughts and feelings. So it is to the heart I wish to turn. In keeping with the whole idea of reading as touch, Derrida intimately links heart, hand, and body with reading, thinking, memory and writing when he asks: Thinking as memory?

We shall safeguard the recollection [. Thus hand, heart, thinking and memory are inextricably entwined in a http: A Gothicized "Enterprise of Health" choreography that becomes a heartfelt reading. We might also consider that when we read, it is a form of rewriting, even an inscription on the heart.

On this note Nancy adds, we clearly have to understand reading is that which is not deciphering, but rather touching and being touched, having to do with body mass and bulk. Writing, reading, a tactful affair. Derrida , ; emphasis added. For Derrida then, there is no doubt that we read with our bodies. Derrida and Braidotti effectively challenge the notion that a sense of immediacy is absolutely necessary to the act of touching.

Reading, then, can indeed be a form of touch. One of the recurring and diffuse transmissions that occur between writer and reader involves the relationship developed with individual characters encountered within a narrative. Once the privilege afforded to immediacy in the act of touching has been challenged, there opens a potential for a more profound sense of communication with characters within the spaces of the text.

Furthermore, [w]e could then touch what is not! Which is to say, not only intelligible beings—beyond the senses—but also what does not even present itself any longer as a being, a being-present. The essentially tactile elements of the reading experience are further elaborated upon by Vladimir Nabokov.

He has written about the reader-writer relationship in a way that speaks from, to and about the heart and body. The panting and happy reader, and there they spontaneously embrace and are linked forever if the book lasts forever. Nabokov , 2. It is the novel, however, which provides that rambling sense of space in which to tell a story, to set out on an adventure across its generous landscapes.

Imhof , The journeys we embark upon in a novel may be comfortable and undemanding. However, they can also involve more deeply challenging and thorny paths.

Walter Siti, in an article that reinforces this sense of divergence, uses an interesting metaphor. To tease some of these ideas out a little further, I would like to explore examples from three contemporary Irish novels: All three of these writers have conveyed a sensual textual geography in their work, while incorporating a sense of physicality and spirituality that the reader can engage with on a deeply intimate level.

There is an intermingling of a wide range of senses, including memories of earlier experiences of people or places or acute perceptions of place, sensations of touch, sound, smell and so forth. This meld of sensations may allow for experiences that are not easy to articulate, not easy to name, but are nevertheless distinctly felt—they may touch the reader deeply. Taking out her box of mementos, Irene touches a little lock of hair that belonged to the baby girl, a small bright http: The air, permeated by the fresh smell of rain-soaked grass and wild flowers, carries an awareness of what might be called ancestral voices.

The voices communicate a yearning to be remembered, and the sensual geographic description enhances the impression of human physicality, offering a palpable, earthy, and yet spectral sense of place.

Here, a young boy finds his way into an underground secret passage of a great ancient stone ring. Such constructions are early medieval or iron age circular fortified spaces that can frequently hold sacred significance or hold narrative connections in myths and folklore. While the experience itself is described in highly tactile terms, the retrospective abstraction of the memory deeply intensifies the experience.

Each of these examples illustrates the idea of a haptology, that weaving of the senses which can produce vivid, tactile and, emotional responses in the reader. Each also displays its own kind of Gothic haunting. Firstly, let us consider something Derrida says about touch: But no living being in the world can survive for an instant without touching, which is to say, without being touched.

A Gothicized "Enterprise of Health" Secondly, I would resist the classical interpretation of aesthetic emotion as merely a cathartic release of excess feelings. The intense emotions involved in the kind of reading that I have described can, paradoxically, encourage an engagement in coherent, reasoned thinking. Thinking and reading can be radical; it can cultivate a sense of radical vitality.

With this in mind, the pleasure we derive from reading a novel becomes a critical part of the reading process. This is just the kind of creative thinking which, for Jane Bennett and William E. Connolly, affords a thrilling, breathtaking movement which weaves its way in, across and around the body: Thinking bounces in magical bumps and charges across multiple zones marked by differences of speed, capacity and intensity.

Through its layered intra- and inter-corporeality new ideas, theories, identities are propelled into being. Thinking is creative. Bennett and Connolly , Such reading and creative thinking can offer what Irigaray assigns to the reading of philosophy: In Kepler, flowing maps connect the four cosmological elements of air, earth, water and fire which extend their influence throughout the text by permeating the body, mind and the external http: A Gothicized "Enterprise of Health" environment.

The elements materialize in the form of storms, sunlight, tears, loss, deep sadness, love, urine, sweat, clouds, illness and fever, wind and bodily functions as well as connecting rainfall with ink, writing and creative instincts. Fire interweaves its physical and metaphysical forces within emotional fervour, sexual energy and the sparks of an energetic mind as well as in the violence imposed upon those considered to be different.

Banville shows that the same fire which spurs the writing of challenging texts can equally inflame the censorship that seeks to burn them. Within such an intricate cartography of syncretic perception movement and the possibility of change is evident. Constant stability and fixed identities are shown to be illusory. There is an incident in Kepler which especially exemplifies the sheer force of creative thinking, presenting it as a potent transformative force in times of crisis.

In a highly volatile environment of religious persecution, political turmoil, discrimination, witch-burning, enforced exile, death, war, legal and financial battle, Banville shows Kepler realising one of his most important scientific theories in the most unexpected of circumstances. Stumbling drunk out of a tavern accompanied by a number of women and drinking pals, Kepler vomits into a drain.

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