Fossicking in the House of Love: Apartheid Masculinity in The Folly

  • G Gaylard


This paper attempts to analyse a hitherto ignored aspect of Vladislavic’s The Folly, and of Vladislavic’s writing more generally: that of sexuality and gender, masculinity in particular. I argue that Vladislavic’s novella is innovative in its linking of individual subjectivity and psycho-sexuality with the apartheid state and its machineries. In this respect, Vladislavic was prepared to enter regions of the self and psyche and to take the fictional risk of abstract surrealism that few of his contemporaries were, and, I argue, the results were revelatory in their exhumation of buried complexes. In this novel Vladislavic shows that a key mechanism that held the apartheid state together was macho homosociality which soothed the troubled conscience of the white majority via the prosthetic conscience of the leader whose vision led the homosocial pack. Importantly, however, Vladislavic also embodied an alternative to this apartheid identity and its workings in the text.


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eISSN: 2159-9130
print ISSN: 1013-929X