In our call for proposals we invited contributors to explore how the representations
of girls in written or graphic texts invite us to think about girlhood(
s) from new and/or different perspectives. My interest in how the girl
in the text might operate in different ways and/or from different perspectives
dates back almost two decades; it was sparked in 1988 when I first encountered
Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions A Novel, published that year.
This work of fiction immediately headed up the Required Reading List for
the new Feminist Literature elective on which I was working with two colleagues
in the Department of English at the University of the Witwatersrand
in Johannesburg, South Africa. My preference for this Zimbabwean novel
had to do, in part, with the fact that Olive Schreiner’s Story of an African
Farm, often thought to have been the first feminist South African novel,
published under the male pseudonym Ralph Irons in 1883, introduces feminism
in a kind of separate manifesto about the status of women in society.
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