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Bourdieu and Postcolonial Studies$
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Raphael Dalleo

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781781382967

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781382967.001.0001

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Playing the Game? The Publication of Oswald Mtshali

Playing the Game? The Publication of Oswald Mtshali

(p.137) Chapter Six Playing the Game? The Publication of Oswald Mtshali
Bourdieu and Postcolonial Studies

Caroline Davis

Liverpool University Press

This study of the publication of the South African poet Oswald Mtshali assesses the relevance of Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology of the literary field to the circumstances affecting South African writers in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Analysing the institutional framework around apartheid and post-apartheid literary publishing, it charts the publication history of Mtshali’s first poetry collection Sounds of a Cowhide Drum in four editions over three continents, and over the course of three decades, and also the publication of his second collection Fireflames in South Africa in 1980. Mtshali has been accused of literary assimilation and of courting white patronage through this publication processes; this study contributes to this discussion by a close analysis of the poet’s relationships with his publishers, an assessment of the publishers’ editorial interventions and the trade in international rights, and consideration of the means by which cultural and economic capital has been conferred.

Keywords:   Oswald Mtshali, Sounds of a Cowhide Drum, Fireflames, Pierre Bourdieu, Publishing, literary field, South African literature, apartheid, post-apartheid

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