Symptomatology of an Unreconciled Nation: Nadine Gordimer's Collection of Short Stories Jump

Françoise Kral

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Abstract :
International audience
I propose to analyse Jump as a transitional work and discuss the idea of the transitional imaginary instrumental in shaping the contours of South Africain the post-apartheid years. Drawing on Barbara Cassin's analysis of the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission I propose to reflect on this ethical imperative to make the embarrassing past audible, visible rather than living in denial. F acing the horrid truth rather than living in denial therefore requires to 'autopsee' the nation and corne face to face with the full horror of apartheid and its wounds, both physical and moral. The move from a system of apartheid to post-apartheid requires not only a creative leap to imagine the nation; it also requires some repair work so as to "turn human wrongs into human rights" as a famous graffiti reads on the wall of Desmond Tutu's house in Cape Town, and which Cassin mentions (235). This repair work requires a narrative which does not erase but chooses to remember, a narrative which chooses anamnesis over amnesia (23 7). In literary terms this implies writing a narrative which does not resolve traumatic memory into narrative memory, but which confronts, looks at, represents and recollects the horrors of apartheid by bringing the readers face to face with the carcass, the maimed body, the dismembered body. It also irnplies questioning the performativity of language and holding language responsible, as Gordimer suggests in some ofher stories.
Published : 2018-11
Document Type : Journal articles
Affiliation : Centre de Recherches Anglophones (CREA (EA 370)) ; Université Paris Nanterre (UPN)


Françoise Kral, « Symptomatology of an Unreconciled Nation: Nadine Gordimer's Collection of Short Stories Jump », Cycnos, 2018-11. URL :