Graham 2012 Rape

Title Information

Author: Lucy Valerie Graham

Title: State of Peril

Subtitle: Race and Rape in South African Literature

Place: Oxford

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Year: 2012

Pages: 272pp.

ISBN-13: 9780199796373 (cloth) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat


Keywords: 20th Century, 21st Century | South African History | Representations: Literature / Francis Bancroft, J.M. Coetzee, Achmat Dangor, George Webb Hardy, Farida Karodia, Baleka Kgositsile, Arthur Maimane, Gcina Mhlophe, Njabulo Ndebele, Lauretta Ngcobo, George Heaton Nicholls, Sol Plaatje, Daphne Rooke, Olive Schreiner, Zoë Wicomb

Full Text

Link: Oxford Scholarship Online (Restricted Access)

Link: Google Books (Limited Preview)

Additional Information

Author: Author's Personal Website,


  Preface (p. ix)
  Introduction (p. 3)
  1. Danger and Desire: Rape and Seduction in the Colonial Imagination (p. 17)
    “Wild Savages” and “Treasure Chests”: Rape and Romance in Southern African Contact Narratives (p. 19)
    “A Black Woman Wasn't White!”: Race and Rape in Olive Schreiner's Trooper Peter Halket of Mashonaland (p. 26)
    “The Inexpiable Outrage Remains”: Black Combatants, Chivalry, and the South African War (1899-1902) (p. 35)
  2. “Like a White Man”: “Black Peril,” Print Culture, and Political Voice in the Making of the Union (p. 44)
    “Wholly Bestial and Mad with Burning Revenge”: Contesting Enfranchisement in Francis Bancroft's Of Like Passions (p. 48)
    “Catching Her by the Throat”: Political and Literary Struggles in George Webb Hardy's The Black Peril (p. 53)
    “His Sonorous Voice”: George Heaton Nicholls's Bayete! and the Black Vote (p. 59)
  3. “A ‘Black’ or a ‘White’ Peril?”: Writing the Melancholy (Alter)Nation (p. 69)
    A Transatlantic Sex Tract: Sol Plaatje's The Mote and the Beam (p. 72)
    Afraid of the Dark: Millin, Missionaries, and “Miscegenation” (p. 78)
    “Consequential Changes”: Daphne Rooke's Mittee in America and South Africa (p. 87)
  4. Restaging Rape: Black Writing and Sexual Apartheid (p. 101)
    “A Rape-utation”: “Black Peril” Mimicry in Arthur Maimane's Victims (p. 103)
    Rescripting “Miscegenation”: “White Peril” in Fiction by Farida Karodia and Lauretta Ngcobo (p. 111)
    “When Victims Spit Upon Victims”: Intraracial Rape in Short Stories by Njabulo Ndebele, Gcina Mhlophe, and Baleka Kgositsile (p. 121)
  5. “History Speaking”: Sexual Violence and Post-Apartheid Narratives (p. 132)
    Reading the Unspeakable: Rape in J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace (p. 140)
    The Limits of Testimony: Traces of Violation in Achmat Dangor's Bitter Fruit and Zoë Wicomb's David's Story (p. 157)
    “(Not) Like a Woman”: Male Rape in Bildungsromane of the Post-Apartheid Transition (p. 167)
    “Save Us All”: Tshepang and the New Nation (p. 181)
  Conclusion (p. 192)
  Notes (p. 195)
  Bibliography (p. 229)
  Index (p. 249)

Description: »This is a study of South African literature through the prism of narratives of sexual violence. While most incidents of sexual assault in South Africa are not interracial, narratives of interracial rape have dominated the national imaginary. South African literature has again and again circled back to images of "black peril" (representations of the rape of white women by black men) and "white peril" representations that show the rape of colonised women by colonising men. Taking an historical and comparative perspective, the book uses as theoretical underpinning Michel Foucault's ideas on sexuality and biopolitics and Judith Butler's speculations on race and cultural melancholia. Avoiding a simplistic feminist perspective, the book examines the complex ways in which race, gender and class work together in the literary texts under examination. Where relevant, it examines the production, dissemination and reception of the selected texts. The books argues for an ethically responsible and dialectical approach that recognises high levels of sexual violence in South Africa, but also examines the racialised inferences and assumptions implicit in representations of bodily violation.« (Source: Oxford University Press)


Corley, Íde. Journal of Postcolonial Writing 50(2) (2013): 250-251. – Full Text: Taylor & Francis Online (Restricted Access), Maynooth University ePrints and eTheses Archive (Free Access)

Cousins, Helen. Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 84(4) (November 2014): 683-684. – Full Text: Cambridge Journals Online (Restricted Access), Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

Daymond, M.J. Journal of Southern African Studies 39(3) (2013): 745-747. – Full Text: Taylor & Francis Online (Restricted Access)

Grogan, Bridget. »Sexual Violence and the South African Imaginary: Review Article.« English in Africa 40(1) (May 2013): 173-184. – Full Text: Sabinet Reference (Restricted Access)

Govinden, Betty. Agenda: Empowering women for gender equity 27(1) (2013): 151-154. – Full Text: Taylor & Francis Online (Restricted Access)

Munro, Brenna M. Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies 14(4) (2013): 503-505. – Full Text: Taylor &amp: Francis Online (Restricted Access)

Wright, Timothy. Novel: A Forum on Fiction 47(2) (Summer 2014): 330-333. – Full Text: Duke University Press (Restricted Access)

Thesis: Graham, Lucy V. State of Peril: Race and Rape in South African Literature. Ph.D. Thesis, Oxford University, 2010.

Wikipedia: Black Peril; J.M. Coetzee, Achmat Dangor, Farida Karodia, Arthur Maimane, Gcina Mhlope, Njabulo Ndebele, Lauretta Ngcobo, Sol Plaatje, Daphne Rooke, Olive Schreiner, Zoë Wicomb

Added: November 8, 2014 – Last updated: November 15, 2014