Olive Schreiner’s Oceanic Imaginary and the Question of Deep History

  • Maria Geustyn
Keywords: Olive Schreiner, South African literature, ocean, Undine, The Story of an African Farm, From Man to Man


This article proposes a reading of the ocean in Olive Schreiner’s life, her letters and her works. Schreiner’s representation of the South African landscape has been much celebrated in literary scholarship, yet the oceanic settings in her novels have been ignored to date. This article explores the representation of the sea in three parts: I draw on Schreiner’s biographies to consider both her geographic movements and her reading practices as models for her scenes of the sea. Secondly, I turn to the letters she wrote after her crossing to England and read for mentions of the ocean and the sea and the language Schreiner uses to represent them. Lastly, using an oceanic lens, I read and compare The Story of an African Farm and From Man to Man.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0376-8902