Sex in the text: Representations of same-sex male intimacies in K. Sello duikers the quiet violence of dreams

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7 Citations (Scopus)


In this article we investigate how same-sex intimacies are represented in K. Sello Duikers second novel, The Quiet Violence of Dreams (2001). We engage with the limitations of existing scholarship around Duikers work, much of which tends to exaggerate the relevance of identity politics and allegory in the novel, or which sidelines the representations of same-sex intimacies altogether. We argue that the novel marks an important intervention in discourses on non-heteronormative sexualities in South African fiction as Duiker disarticulates polarized taxonomies of sexual identities, thereby problematizing the frame of identity politics and categories such as heterosexual and homosexual. In addition to recognizing the fluidity of sexual desire and identity in the novel, the article also examines how Duiker interrogates conceptual configurations of what constitutes sex and shows how his text is critical of the way in which certain forms of intimacy have greater discursive and symbolic currency than others. We argue further that The Quiet Violence of Dreams is a significant novel because of the way in which it challenges the cultural invisibility of black practitioners of same-sex intimacies in South Africa. Finally, we examine the way in which Duiker constructs and legitimizes public spaces of eroticized masculinity in the novel in a manner that contests the imperatives of political mobilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-48
Number of pages13
JournalEnglish Studies in Africa
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • K. Sello Duiker
  • The Quiet Violence of Dreams
  • intimacy
  • penetration
  • polyvocality
  • samesex,gay
  • sex
  • sexual taxonomies.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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