The Story Of An African Farm

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9781920265465: The Story Of An African Farm

The Story of an African Farm (published 1883 under the pseudonym Ralph Iron) was South African author Olive Schreiner's first novel. This book is generally recognized as one of the first feminist novels and also as the first great South African novel. This pioneering work caused quite a stir when it first appeared and it transformed the shape and course of the late Victorian novel. Schreiner unflinchingly deals with her society's greatest fears, namely the loss of faith, the dissolution of marriage, and women's social and political independence. The setting is the vast arid plains of South Africa's Karoo region and the novel contains notable descriptions of the African landscape.

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About the Author:

Olive Schreiner (1855-1920) was a South African author, anti-war campaigner and intellectual. She is best remembered today for her novel The Story of an African Farm which has been highly acclaimed ever since its first publication in 1883 for the bold manner in which it dealt with some of the burning issues of the day, including agnosticism, existential independence, individualism and the professional aspirations of women; as well as its portrayal of the elemental nature of life on the colonial frontier. In more recent studies she has also been foregrounded as an apologist for those sidelined by the forces of British Imperialism, such as the Afrikaners, and later other South African groups like Blacks, Jews and Indians - to name but a few. Although she showed interest in a large number of bohemian notions and the passing fads of her time (i.e. socialism, pacifism, vegetarianism, the New Woman phenomenon etc.) her true views escape restrictive categorisations. Her published works and other surviving writings promote implicit values like moderation, friendship and understanding amongst all peoples, avoiding the pitfalls of political radicalism which she consciously eschewed. Although she may be called a life-long freethinker in terms of her Victorian background - as opposed to mainstream Christianity - she always remained true to the spirit of the Christian Bible and developed a secular version of the worldview of her missionary parents. Karel Schoeman, the South African authority on Schreiner's life, has written in one of his books about her that she was an outstanding figure in a South African context, although perhaps not quite the same abroad.

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Olive Schreiner
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Olive Schreiner
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Schreiner, Olive
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