History and the "imagination of men's hearts" in Mike Nicol's Horseman


  • Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk University of Cape Town





In light of the scattered nature of criticism regarding the work of South African author, Mike Nicol, this article surveys the transformation of Nicol’s novelistic style so as to better lluminate the representation and deployment of history in his third novel, Horseman (1994). South Africa’s political transformation not only offers a context for understanding the novel, but also provokes questions for the South African writer: how does the writer respond to the oppression of apartheid and the possibility of a new dispensation given the memory of such oppression? What forms best articulate that response? In the case of Horseman, how does one read the book’s pessimism against the backdrop of the first democratic elections? A consideration of Nicol’s greater body of work–his realist and more allegorical modes–points to a complicated relationship between the South African writer and the period of transition leading up to the 1994 elections.

Biografia do Autor

Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk, University of Cape Town

Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk lectures in the Centre for Film and MediaStudies at the University of Cape Town. He has published on thefilms of Terrence Malick, and teaches film and the environment,screenwriting, and South African film.