"Note on sex for the aged widower": On André Brink's The Rights of Desire

Marius Crous
2006 Tydskrif vir Letterkunde  
Marius Crous is a language practitioner at the Parliament of South Africa. His debut collection of poetry Brief uit die kolonies (Protea Book House, 2003) received the RAU award. He holds postgraduate degrees in Literary Theory and English as well as a doctorate in Afrikaans and Dutch. "Note on sex for the aged widower": On André Brink's The Rights of Desire This article examines the representation of masculinity in André Brink's novel, The Rights of Desire. Following a remark in Roger Boylan's
more » ... review of the novel in the Boston Review; this analysis concentrates on Brink's depiction of Afrikaner masculinity and the idea that the character Ruben Olivier represents Brink's conception of the contemporary Afrikaner male, in particular the older Afrikaner male. This is an attempt at determining the validity of Robert Morrell's thesis on masculinity, namely that it is about "men making and remaking masculinity, about challenging hegemonic masculinity and reconstituting it." The question is whether Brink's portrayal of Afrikaner masculinity confronts the hegemonic and patriarchal power structures associated with Afrikaner men, and whether it provides the reader with a new perspective on Afrikaner masculinity. This article investigates Brink's representation of firstly, the ways Afrikaner men relate to other men, and secondly, the depiction of Afrikaner men in relation to their social class and to women.
doi:10.4314/tvl.v43i2.29752 fatcat:u2luekg2fjgh5ldsppc23y3npe