Between two pasts and two presents: The novels of the Namibian writer Giselher W. Hoffmann
AbstractThe literary oeuvre of the Namibian author, Giselher W. Hoffmann, illustrates the way in which literary interpretation and reception are contingent upon the influence of a readership’s individual cultural background. Whereas in Germany colonial literature evokes hidden and unconscious stereotypes, Hoffmann’s novels – seen in the context of their Namibian literary tradition – break with these very stereotypes. Thus while German readers still tend to see Germanophone literature and German literature as being identical, Hoffmann is at pains to state that he is a writer of Namibian literature in the German language. These contrasting interpretations reveal a lack of definition in the German postcolonial consciousness. This in turn demonstrates the cultural egocentricity of how Hoffmann’s novels in Germany are read, and shows further that postcolonial theory does not extend to cover adequately the situation of Namibian, Germanophone literature in all its distinctiveness.
It is a condition of publication that authors vest the copyright of their reviews and articles, including abstracts, in the publisher of JNS, Otjivanda Presse. This enables us to ensure full copyright protection and the dissemination of the article and the journal to the widest possible readership. Authors may use the article elsewhere after publication as long as reference to its publication in JNS is provided. Authors are themselves responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce copyright material from other sources.