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Voorslag Blurb


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voorslag The literary journal Voorslag was produced in mid-1926, near Durban, by the then youthful Roy Campbell, William Plomer and Laurens van der Post, all of whom were subsequently to establish themselves among South Africa's most prominent writers.  Disagreements between Campbell and the sponsors of Voorslag soon led to the resignation of the young authors;  but not before the first three issues, under their editorship, had provoked immediate controversy in artistic and journalistic circles.

Having burst upon the literary scene, in South Africa and Britain, with the flamboyant poem The Flaming Terrapin (1922) and with Turbott Wolfe (1925) - a hard-hitting novel on the ‘colour question' - Campbell and Plomer respectively set out to attack the cultural philistinism and socio-political conservatism of the ‘bovine citizenry' of South Africa.  In bitter retaliation, leading newspapers in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban castigated the young editors for their presumptuousness.  Almost overnight Voorslag (the title meaning ‘whiplash') achieved near-legendary status, alike among its champions and detractors;  yet copies of the journal are today virtually non-existent.

The present volume makes available almost sixty years later, in facsimile and with editorial notes, numbers 1, 2 and 3 of Voorslag.  An illuminating Introduction describes the founding of the journal and assesses its significance in the context of South African literature.  In addition, appendices of press reviews and - published for the first time - letters by Campbell and others interested in the venture help to convey something of the atmosphere surrounding this outspoken ‘little magazine'.  As Colin Gardner and Michael Chapman say in their introductory essay: ‘Voorslag had the courage to enter the realms of serious and probing questioning on matters of art, human feeling and society.  It is the substance, temper and tone of its involvement which this facsimile edition seeks to convey and re-create for present-day readers and students of South African literature'.

University of Natal Press


Killie Campbell Africana Library


ISBN 0 86980 423 5

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