From (wo)man to man: a reconsideration of Olive Schreiner’s quest for equality before and during the South African war 1899-1902
thesisposted on 21.04.2016, 10:37 by Ruth Anne Bromiley
In this thesis, I chart the development of Schreiner’s changing views on race. Focusing mainly on her political works, The Political Situation (1896), Trooper Peter Halket of Mashonaland (1897), An English-South African’s View of the Situation (1899) and Thoughts on South Africa (1923), I also allude to The Story of an African Farm (1883), From Man to Man (1926) and Undine (1929). Looking at how and why her opinions on social Darwinism shifted from her juvenile novels of the 1870s, to her polemical texts of the 1890s, I examine the key areas of her thinking, such as miscegenation and racial and sexual exploitation, and the ways in which she applied them to her fellow white and black South Africans. Similarly exploring her childhood jingoism, her sojourn to Europe (1881-1889) and her return to South Africa, I explore her growing disillusionment with the British and growing identification with the Boers and black natives. I also consider the impact that her friendships with mathematician, Karl Pearson, and diamond magnate, Cecil Rhodes, amongst others, had on Schreiner and the way these works, her life, letters and expositions on race have been interpreted by critics and biographers up until the present day.