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Tydskrif vir Letterkunde

On-line version ISSN 2309-9070
Print version ISSN 0041-476X


COCHRANE, Neil. Tydskr. letterkd. [online]. 2018, vol.55, n.1, pp.174-186. ISSN 2309-9070.

The young Afrikaans poet, Ruan Fourie, published his debut volume of poetry, 'n ope brief aan Dorian Gray, (An open letter to Dorian Gray) in 2017. Fourie's debut received predominantly negative reviews from Afrikaans critics. A review by Afrikaans critic, Tom Gouws, was particularly destructive and transgressed acceptable professional standards. This example of destructive criticism is scrutinized in relation to similar transgressions in Afrikaans book reviews. In addition, a comparable Irish case study and theoretical viewpoints by C. J. van Rees and Susanne Janssen are considered to provide a nuanced perspective on current practices in Afrikaans literary criticism. The article also focuses on the responses of Bernard Odendaal and Lina Spies to Fourie's poetry to provide a critical and independent opinion on aspects such as publishing decisions, mentorship, manuscript development and editorial mentorship. The last part of the article consists of a substantiated evaluation of 'n ope brief aan Dorian Gray. It is concluded that despite evidence of creative talent, there are too many shortcomings due to questionable editorial mentorship and impetuous publishing decisions.

Keywords : literary criticism; Afrikaans poetry; book reviewing; Ruan Fourie; literary mentorship.

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