A Novel Archive of Intimacy: Sex and the Struggle in Gerald Kraak's Ice in the Lungs

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7 Citations (Scopus)


SummaryTracing the figure of the archive, this article examines the ways in which official sites of memorialisation either erase or radically desexualise the histories of sexual minorities. Furthermore, the article examines the epistemological status of fiction as an alternative archive of marginalised voices and experiences. I focus particularly on Gerald Kraak's novel Ice in the Lungs (2006) to reveal the importance of literature in reinscribing a gay cultural history into discourses of the apartheid era. The text does this in a way that celebrates eroticism and resists desexualising or sanitising representational impulses. The novel speaks to the silences in official sites of history-making in South Africa and reveals the complex intersections of sex and struggle in the antiapartheid movement. The article also considers how Kraak's novel interro-gates the current idealisation of the liberation movement by exposing the homo-prejudice that characterised large parts of it. While the centrality of race in the ideological machinations of the apartheid regime is widely acknowledged, Kraak's novel attests to the need to explore the palimpsest of oppressive mechanisms exercised not only by the state but by those within the liberation movement itself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-66
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Literary Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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