Letters: South Africa and the international context

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Introduction

In this chapter the researcher sets out to explain the topic that forms the basis of this study. Firstly, some theoretical background will be provided in order to create a context in which the research is done. This includes introducing the primary and secondary research questions. An explanation will then be provided of the methodology and structure to be followed in this study, followed by an allusion to the potential limitations that this research project may face. Finally, an outline of the proposed chapters that will follow in this thesis will be provided.

Theoretical background

Roy Pascal (1985: 26) poses the question: how far does life have any inherent pattern? What is legitimate to rearrange for effect – or even for a quest for higher truth? In this thesis the researcher will use “Life Writing”, defined by Jolly (2001) as something that « encompasses the writing of one’s own or another’s life”, as the umbrella term for the study of a subject’s life.

Methodology

There is no absolute definition of “Life Writing”. Kadar (1992: 3) states that Life Writing “is not a fixed term, and that it is in flux as it moves from considerations of genre to considerations of critical practice.” How do we attempt to define it? By introducing the presence of a subject’s life story? Do we require the work to be factual? Indeed, but what about the effects of narrative? Does Life Writing need to portray the truth? Which or whose truth would this be?

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Comparative study

In order to achieve the academic goal, a comparative study on the similarities and differences between the biography of Etienne Leroux by J.C. Kannemeyer (Leroux:’n Lewe) and Barry Miles’s Charles Bukowski will be undertaken.

1 Introduction
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Theoretical background
1.3 Methodology and structure
1.4 Proposed chapters structure
2 Letters as subgenre in Life Writing
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Letters as “egodocuments”
2.3 Discussion of key terms
2.4 Summary
3 Comparative study
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Fact and fiction in a life story
3.3 Etienne Leroux and Charles Bukowski: Two outsiders
3.4 Leroux: ’n Lewe and Charles Bukowski: A brief comparison
3.5 The biographer’s choice
3.6 Summary
4 Findings
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Letters: South Africa and the international context
4.3 Possible future research topics
4.4 Letters as part of Etienne Leroux’s ouevre
4.5 Correspondence as an integral part of Life Writing narrative
4.6 Sources in the practice of Life Writing
4.7 Summary
5 A collection of edited and contextualised letters of Etienne Leroux With an introduction and editorial account
5.1 Leroux letters: The background
5.2 Introduction and editorial account
5.3 Briewe van Etienne Leroux
6 Manuscript: Vier en veertig, agtien

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Resources as part of the narrative in biography. A study of the extent to which letters contribute to the narrative in biography, with reference to JC Kannemeyer’s biography Leroux: ’n Lewe and Charles Bukowski by Barry Miles.

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