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Olive Schreiner

Author: Cherry Clayton
Publisher: New York : Twayne ; London : Prentice Hall International, ©1997.
Series: Twayne's world authors series, TWAS 865.; Twayne's world authors series., African literature.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Olive Schreiner (1855-1920) is internationally recognized as the first novelist of major importance to emerge from colonial South Africa. A pioneering feminist whose liberal social ideals played a critical role in the political and artistic movements of her time, Schreiner struggled throughout her life against the confining role allotted to Victorian women, especially those in the colonies. Schreiner's life is
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Clayton, Cherry.
Olive Schreiner.
New York : Twayne ; London : Prentice Hall International, c1997
(OCoLC)645839734
Named Person: Olive Schreiner; Olive Schreiner; Olive Schreiner
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Cherry Clayton
ISBN: 0805782877 9780805782875
OCLC Number: 35360610
Description: xix, 140 p. ; 23 cm.
Series Title: Twayne's world authors series, TWAS 865.; Twayne's world authors series., African literature.
Responsibility: Cherry Clayton.

Abstract:

Olive Schreiner (1855-1920) is internationally recognized as the first novelist of major importance to emerge from colonial South Africa. A pioneering feminist whose liberal social ideals played a critical role in the political and artistic movements of her time, Schreiner struggled throughout her life against the confining role allotted to Victorian women, especially those in the colonies. Schreiner's life is central to her texts. In this study Cherry Clayton explores Schreiner's fiction and nonfiction as "complementary aspects of the same developing mind and art." Without reducing Schreiner's literature to the purely autobiographical, Clayton suggests that Schreiner's fictional accounts of spiritual and social unconventionality are profoundly tied to the author's experiences as a young woman. Schreiner's troubled relationship with her distant and sometimes severe mother, according to Clayton, led to an ambivalence about women that is expressed in her female characters.

Schreiner's close relationships also led her to a deeper understanding of the effects of a hypocritical social code on women. Exploring the relationship between gender and imperialism, Clayton traces Schreiner's emerging feminism and discusses how the development of this ideal informed the author's opposition to colonialism.

Although she was strongly critical of the colonial political system, Schreiner had a deep love for South Africa and found in her "intense responses to the landscape" a symbolic alternative to the oppressions of society. Clayton, herself a South African, brings to her readers this sense of place and of the beauty that it lends to Schreiner's work. Clayton examines each of Schreiner's major works, The Story of an African Farm, From Man to Man, and Women and Labour, as well her pamphlets and political writing, placing her discussion in the context of contemporary criticism. Throughout her study, the most thorough assessment of Schreiner's work to date, Clayton draws a vivid portrait of her subject, a lonely and heroic woman and artist, whose writings document a crucial moment in the history of colonial society.

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