A Chronicle in Verse
Lady Anne: A Chronicle in Verse by Antjie Krog is the first English translation of an award winning book published in Afrikaans in 1989. It engages critically and creatively with a key moment of colonial history - the time Lady Anne Barnard spent at the Cape of Good Hope, from 1797 to 1802. Usually mentioned merely as a witty hostess of fabulous parties, Anne Lindsay Barnard, the daughter of a Scottish Earl and the wife of a colonial administrator, was an independent thinker and a painter and writer of genius. She left diaries, correspondence and watercolors documenting her experiences in this exotic land, the contact zone of colonizers and indigenous peoples. Antjie Krog acts as bard and chronicles an epic about this remarkable heroine's life in South Africa, and intertwines it with life two hundred years later in the same country but now in the throes of anti-apartheid anger and vicious states of emergency. Krog's powerful and eloquent bringing together of the past and the present, and the historical and the poetic embodies an experience that is as pertinent and compelling today in a democratic but still turbulent South Africa, as it is in the USA and other places where the intersections of race, identity, power, and language lie at the center of civic life.
"Originally published as Lady Anne in 1989 and given the Hertzog Prize, Afrikaans Literature's highest award, this translation is the first complete volume of poetry by Antjie Krog to be published in English. In 2000 a selection of Krog's poetry was taken from several volumes and translated as Down to My Last Skin, but this is the first time that English readers will have access to a complete, individual volume of her poetry. The completeness is worth noting, as it assists readers to follow the two narrative strands in the volume, narratives which run concurrently but not sequentially. The first concerns Lady Anne Barnard, who has been chosen by Krog as her antagonist-protagonist... The other narrative concerns the poet herself as she faces the growing political anger of the late 1980s, the seeming insignificance of her sympathies for the oppressed in the face of her identity as an Afrikaner, and the seeming irrelevance of her calling as a poet."
-M.J. Daymond, Bulletin of the National Library of South Africa (June 2017)
About the author:
Antjie Krog is professor at University of the Western Cape..
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