Appropriating Herman Charles Bosman: Same- Sex Desire and the Unmaking of Otherness

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Summary: This article focuses on two recent short stories that appropriate features of the literary works of Herman Charles Bosman, one of South Africa’s most prolific short story writers. The two stories that I examine appear in different texts, neither of which has received sustained critical attention. Whereas Emil Rorke’s “Poisoned Grief” was published in an anthology of short stories titled Queer Africa (2013), Richard de Nooy’s untitled short story forms part of his second novel, The Big Stick (2011). The article focuses on how each story represents same-sex desire while offering different intertextual appropriations or reworkings of Bosman’s style. Though this article engages with selected scholarship on Bosman’s work, it is not a study of whether the two stories successfully mimic their literary antecedent. Rather, this article brings Rorke’s and De Nooy’s stories into dialogue, not only with one another but also with the characters, spaces, and style of Bosman’s stories. I argue that though De Nooy’s provocative and humorous story contrasts Rorke’s subtle and poignant depiction of same-sex love and intimacy, both stories privilege desire over sexual identity, and offer us different ways of thinking about same-sex sexualities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-92
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Literary Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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