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I wrote a lengthy biography of her life for my Honours' dissertation, and I wasn't planning to publish it in any form, so I thought I'd make it available on Wikipedia. It has been reviewed by at least one scholar, as I had a supervisor who was intimately acquainted with Schreiner's life and work and who insisted that I make it as accurate and full as possible. I would like to add more about her works eventually, but I think we can agree that it is an improvement on the stub that was there! Stillusio 18:02, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
Discussions re Previous Version
Beefart says: Hey dudes, we owe Olive so much. Anyone who has read "African Farm" knows that. This could be a fantastic article but it needs much work. Anyone interested? Captainbeefart 12:51, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
This article makes all types of nonsense statements. Firstly, I have read The Story a few times and I don't remember seeing the (American) word "nigger." Secondly, there really were not many blacks in the Cape Colony. Thirdly, one cannot blame the author for what the characters say.
I think Schreiner's views on blacks are evident from the discussion passages in From Man to Man where she compares black to the "barbarian tribes" of Europe (i.e., the Germans) who, ultimately, saved Europe from the decadence of the Romans. For example, Trooper Peter Halket of Mashonaland, a pamphleteering tract, to be fair, is also a work of outrage at how blacks were treated in what is now Zimbabwe.
We cannot judge Schreiner with the standards of our own day. In her own day she was way ahead of her time.
The best source on Schreiner is probably Ruth First and Anne Scott's biography published by The Women's Press in 1989.
I don't know when this last comment from dakno was created, but the word nigger is in fact in The Story of an African Farm. 8 times to be exact. Use the Project Gutenberg text, then using ctrl+f, type in the word "nigger." It will show you every instance of it in the book. In those days the word nigger wasn't considered necessarily derogatory. Likewise, nigger is not a strictly American word. Also, to say we can't blame the author for what characters say is rubbish. She wrote it. She can make a point one way or another with what her characters say. She can choose to be real to life or the skew things any way she likes. It's her book. We can blame her all we want because in the end, it's Schreiner's words, not Waldo's, Lyndall's, Em's or otherwise, that we are reading.
It is only know that I realized that there was a response to my comment. Yes, my memory was faulty. There are, in fact, eight references to niggers in The Story. It seems that the word was not very common in the Cape at the time and, I suppose, eight references is really not that much.
If, by your logic, we should impute the charge of racism on Schreiner, then, by the same token, we should accuse almost all figures in the Western canon of racism, misoginy, anti-Semitism, etc.
The writer of the article has, anyway, deleted the original comments.
Dakno 03:13, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
I am not trying to say that Schreiner is racist. I've had discussions on that and she was most certainly ahead of her time in many social aspects. I believe racism was one of those aspects. I was simply stating that the characters words are what Schreiner makes them, so to say we can't blame her for what her characters say isn't quite on point. She chose to use derogatory terms in order to make her point, yes, but it was she who used them none the less.
Although some of her characters like tant Sannie exhibit imagined racial superiority, others like Waldo's father set a good example of how compassion can and should break racial boundaries. It is as if Schreiner wanted to tell us that we are only as superior as we behave. I believe that Schreiner was an incredible thinker and advocate for morality, individuality and I found much value in Waldo's holistic theories. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk) 21:11, 6 February 2009 (UTC)