Sê sjibbolet: ’n intertekstuele lees

Steward Van Wyk

Abstract


This article pursues an intertextual reading of Adam Small’s collection of poetry Sê sjibbolet (“Say shibboleth”). The collection is
read alongside texts that refer to “shibboleth” in their titles i.e. works by Paul Celan, Jacques Derrida and Doris Salcedo. The
analysis draws on the readings that these texts provide of the Biblical passage in Judges 12 and the possibilities for further
analysis that they open up of Small’s title poem and collection as well as the insights that they provide into his poetic and
discursive utterances with regard to apartheid and Afrikaners. Corresponding features in the writing of Celan and Small are
further explored to enlighten their views on language and poetics within past and present contexts. Keywords: Adam Small
(b. 1936-), Afrikaans poetry, anti-apartheid literature, Jacques Derrida, Paul Celan (1920–70), shibboleth.

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