Traces, Tracks and Traits: Hunting for Sense in Nadine Gordimer's Jump and Other Stories

Hubert Malfray

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Abstract :
International audience
Gordimer's stories often stage characters who are launched in a form of hunting game: thus, predation becomes a recurring motif to be found in the looming presence of animality or bodily preoccupations. Her characters are often tracked down, experiencing anxiety at the idea of being caught. Predation and hunting tum into fully-fledged paradigms inviting to consider the collection of short stories as a network of traces: the traces left by characters who are on the run, pushing the reader to discover clues, scents and hints to reach the revelation of some epiphanic truth. But this could also be a means of tracing identity, which, in the complex cross-cultural context of South Africa, tums out to be a real challenge: the challenge of the self, of defining one's roots. lt could also be a means to envisage short story writing as Gordimer' s way of negotiating with the marks and scars left by History, and more particularly by the history of literature, which the writer keeps putting to the test in order to try and hunt for a new type of literary form.
Published : 2018-11
Document Type : Journal articles
Affiliation : Institut d’Histoire des Représentations et des Idées dans les Modernités (IHRIM) ; École normale supérieure de Lyon (ENS de Lyon)-Université Lumière - Lyon 2 (UL2)-Université Jean Moulin - Lyon 3 (UJML) ; Université de Lyon-Université de Lyon-Université Blaise Pascal - Clermont-Ferrand 2 (UBP)-Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Étienne (UJM)-Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)-Université Clermont Auvergne (UCA)


Hubert Malfray, « Traces, Tracks and Traits: Hunting for Sense in Nadine Gordimer's Jump and Other Stories », Cycnos, 2018-11. URL :