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The oeuvre of Wilbur Smith--the South African blockbuster adventure writer--is often analysed from a post-colonial perspective in order to disclose the colonial and racist undercurrents that pervade his narratives. In this paper, I analyse Smith's gendered manipulation of space in his ten-volume Courtney saga and how he constructs what could be termed a 'hegemonic male space'. My objective is to show that Smith's spatial configurations in the novels are not only conditioned by his particular geo-political affiliations or by the specific cultural landscape of adventure in which he inscribes his dreams of omnipotent masculinity. In fact, the way in which Smith manipulates space in tile saga needs to be viewed alongside broader postmodern revisions of space that have led to the erasure of 'comfortable' distinctions--centre and margin, public and domestic--for the construction of 'safe' masculinity. As a white, Anglo-Saxon, adventure writer living in and writing about South Africa, Wilbur Smith's manipulation of space in his Courtney saga is conditioned by his particular geo-political affiliations, as well as by the literary tradition--that of imperialist adventure writing--which Smith follows in order to trace his revisionist formulation of South African history. Smith interprets the land in the light of his white supremacist political alliances and depicts the South African territory in such a way as to both legitimise the allocation of space before and during apartheid and to endorse the ownership rights that white--especially British--settlers claimed to possess over the South African terrain. In order to justify the legitimacy of the white man's claims over the territory, therefore, Smith articulates two potent political myths with regards to South African land derived from the imperial literary tradition and colonial political orthodoxy, (1) and also from the mythology that sustained the apartheid regime since its implementation in 1948. (2) In the first place, Smith subscribes to the idea that the land was empty before the white man arrived, and thus describes it as a "blank" (1997: 370), (3) "savage, unexplored" (1997: 83), "a land unknown, terra ineognita" (1999: 499) because "no civilised man had ever travelled into that awesome interior" (1997: 4), And secondly, Smith sustains that it was the white man's ingenuity that created the wealth of the nation. In the Courtney saga, he pictures white settlers as powerful entrepreneurs endowed with the inner capacities and the technological means to take possession of and improve the land; he gives them absolute freedom of manoeuvre to take and maintain control over South African territory, inscribe it with their presence and validate their entitlement to the land they conquer, tame and make productive. Both myths are succinctly summarised in the following quotation:

GENRE
Professional & Technical
RELEASED
2001
December 1
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
27
Pages
PUBLISHER
Spanish Association for Anglo-American Studies (AEDEAN)
SELLER
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.
SIZE
246.6
KB

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