“Labyrinth of loneliness”: Breyten Breytenbach’s prison poetry (1976–1985)

  • H van Vuuren
Keywords: South African prison poetry, depersonalisation, dissociation, dread / debility / dependency or DDD syndrome, solitary confinement, Breytenbach’s ars poetica


Breytenbach’s prison poetry is first contextualized as part of a South African subgenre that flourished under apartheid, and then interrogated for its specificities: the singular prison conditions under which he wrote, the nature of the poetry, specific leitmotifs in each of the five volumes published between 1976 and 1985. A psychoanalytic approach is indicated to this strong middle
phase in his extensive poetical oeuvre, comprising seventeen collections of poetry.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2309-9070
print ISSN: 0041-476X