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How Olive Schreiner’s husband ‘carelessly’ edited her lesser known novel From Man to Man, or Perhaps Only

From Man to Man, or Perhaps OnlyWatch Dorothy Driver’s Great Texts/Big Questions lecture on Olive Schreiner’s unfinished novel From Man to Man, or Perhaps Only.

The lecture was given in 2013. Driver, Professor of English at the University of Adelaide, is the editor of a new edition From Man to Man, which will be launched this evening (2 February) at Kalk Bay Books.

Schreiner herself said of the novel: “I love my new book so, a hundred times better than I ever loved An African Farm” – however, it remained unfinished when she died in 1920.

Driver says Schreiner’s husband, Samuel Cron Cronwright-Schreiner, edited the book after her death, “sometimes carelessly”, and added the subtitle “Or Perhaps Only”, possibly to hint at the its unfinished nature. The book was then published in 1926, with a final chapter added by Cronwright-Schreiner, which he said his wife had recounted to him.

The talk is part of the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts’ Great Texts public lecture series:

Olive Schreiner’s various writings, both fictional and non-fictional, made an extraordinary contribution to late 19th and early 20th century feminism, not least in her increasing and groundbreaking interest in the social intersections of gender, race and class. Schreiner’s early reading in evolutionary biology, sociology and the Romantic tradition, coupled with her knowledge and observation of the South African past and present, gave a unique flavour to her fictional treatment of the condition of women, as well as her vision of a more productive, racially equitable and harmonious world unfettered by gender difference.

Watch the video:

GT/BQ 2013- Dorothy Driver from GIPCA@UCT on Vimeo.

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