Taal as “ingang” tot die wêreld: reis, verbeelding, herinnering en identiteit na aanleiding van Breytenbach se A Veil of Footsteps

  • W Burger
Keywords: Breyten Breytenbach, identity, imagination, memory, travel.


Travelling is a central motive in A Veil of Footsteps (and in Breytenbach’s oeuvre). In this work, travelling is a metaphor for imagination. Breytenbach pleads for continual travelling because “the earth needs to be discovered and remembered again and again”. Breytenbach suggests that discovery and remembering require imagination. In the first part of this article the
dependancy of imagination on language (the “footsteps” of the title) is investigated, using Paul Ricoeur’s concept of a “semantic imagination”. In the second part of the article three implications of imagination’s dependancy on language is identified in A Veil of Footsteps. Firstly the close tie between imagination and memory (the book is described as a memoir); secondly the importance of imagination for identity; and thirdly the need for imagination to enable an ethical response for one’s actions, are examined.

Journal Identifiers

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