South Africa’s first novelist, Olive Schreiner, is perhaps most famous for her work The Story of an African Farm (1883), which is widely read and taught. Her penultimate book, From Man to Man (1926), now out of print, is arguably more important and relevant, not only because it is a more mature study of early racial and imperial relations but also because of its more modern characterisation.
It is the story of two white women brought up in the Cape of Good Hope at the end of the 19th century. One marries and has children, the other is led into a life of prostitution. Asking questions about the relation between marriage and prostitution in a world where women are valued only for their bodies, the novel portrays one woman’s struggle to re-create herself and to educate her children, including her black foster-child, in such a way as to enable them to pursue a more humane and fulfilled destiny than was open to her. This powerful novel, in advance of its time, is about the human capacity to dream of a society no longer regulated by damaging racial and gender relations.The previous edition of this work was edited and completed posthumously by Schreiner’s husband. This new edition, edited by Prof Dorothy Driver, renowned academic, editor, and literary critic, who believes that Cronwright-Schreiner misread the author’s intention, adds another ending, written by Schreiner in her own words in a letter to a friend. She also repairs the editorial and proofreading errors introduced by Cronwright-Schreiner.
An introduction by Driver, and appendices which include Cronwright-Schreiner’s ending, notes on the genesis of the text, and a glossary of South African terms, clarify and add to the value of this ‘unfinished novel’, cited as ‘the best writing (Schreiner) ever did’.
Introduction: aimed at a general audience, but allowing for academic interest; approx 3,000 words. Note on the Text: academic interest Text: in fourteen chapters Alternative endings: Schreiner’s own ending and her husband’s brief summary of the ending recounted to him
Appendices: a) Cronwright-Schreiner’s original introduction to the first editionb) Note on the genesis of the text, incorporating Cronwright-Schreiner’s original ‘Note on the Genesis of the Book’ and adding other references in letters that Cronwright-Schreiner missed, e.g. a comment about the proposed ending in an 1889 letter to Edward Carpenterc) Glossary of a few South African terms likely to be unfamiliar to a foreign readership.
A general readership as well as scholars in Literature, South African Studies, African Studies, Feminist Studies, Women’s Studies, Gender Studies, Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, (Feminist) Psychoanalytic Studies, Victorian Studies and Whiteness Studies.