Skip to the content

Dream time and anti-imperialism in the writings of Olive Schreiner

Ong, JM 2014, 'Dream time and anti-imperialism in the writings of Olive Schreiner' , Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 50 (6) . (In Press)

Download (233kB) | Preview
[img] Microsoft Word
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (45kB) | Request a copy


This article explores how Olive Schreiner utilizes politicized modernist aesthetics, specifically the manipulation of time through allegory and dream, to resist structures of empire. The claim that Schreiner’s work should be received and analysed as modernist builds on recent work in global modernist studies that views modernisms as multiple, and occurring across various temporalities and geographies, whilst responding to the drive in postcolonial studies to reshape modernism with an awareness of empire. Analysis of the repetitive dream cycles within and across Schreiner’s texts reveals how she disrupts the conventional chronologies and associated ideologies introduced by colonizers in South Africa in ways that can be interpreted as modernist. Beginning with close readings of the opening scenes in the novels Undine: A Queer Little Child (written 1870s) and The Story of an African Farm (1883), the article then considers the role of alternative temporalities associated with dreams in the short allegory “Three Dreams in a Desert” (1887), to suggest that Schreiner’s “dream time” offers a form of postcolonial resistance to the imposed “imperial clock time” of life under colonial rule.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Memory, Text and Place
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Postcolonial Writing
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1744-9855
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: JM Munslow Ong
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2014 14:19
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2016 01:38

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)


Downloads per month over past year