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Tydskrif vir Letterkunde

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


BOSMAN, Nerina  and  STANDER, Jan. Vanden vos Reynaerde's transformation into Reinaard die Jakkals. Tydskr. letterkd. [online]. 2022, vol.59, n.3, pp.148-164. ISSN 2309-9070.

The legacy of the Middle Dutch epic Vanden vos Reynaerde and the many ways in which we still see traces of Reynaert the fox and his companion, Iesegrim the wolf, in Afrikaans, are discussed in this article. The indestructible fox gets a second life under the Southern Cross, perhaps most notably in the many tales about Jackal and Wolf which are well known as part of a shared oral heritage by white and Khoi speakers of Afrikaans. Our focus is not these stories, however, but rather the following question: does the Reynaert of the epic indeed live on in Afrikaans literature? We argue that the epic itself and its literary heritage has not received as much attention as did the stories of the sly jackal and the gullible, even dim-witted, wolf. These extremely short stories do not exhibit the carefully planned structure, sharp social commentary and ruthless exposing of human weaknesses as does the epic. In our opinion, the only text in which the medieval epic itself functions as intertext, is in the brilliant adaptation by Eitemal. Eitemal created a story which is in many ways so different from the Dutch Reinaert, that it truly is a story written on African soil. In the Eitemal text, the sly fox becomes a typical Afrikaans crook-and what's more, he is a villain who is not foreign to modern readers due to his essentially human character. In Reinaard die Jakkals the intrepid, extremely cruel but also clever fox lives on.

Keywords : Vanden vos Reynaerde; Reinaard die Jakkals; translation; Eitemal; Jakkals en Wolf.

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