Phantoms of Hysteria ‒ Novelistic Phantasmagoria in Lesego Rampolokeng’s Whiteheart: Prologue to Hysteria

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Wachira, Ibrahim
Kaigai, Kimani
Muhia, Mugo
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This article examines how the narrator in Lesego Rampolokeng’s Whiteheart: Prologue to Hysteria (Hereafter designated as W/ H) deploys spectres of hysteria as a novelistic phantasmagoria to challenge the subject in the (a)political subject in the fictive post-apartheid South Africa and re-examine how spectres of Apartheid devour the country through veiled repressive juridical structures. The novel is written in paragraphs/ sections which appear to be disjointed, and this forms a problematic of reading and interpreting it as a concrete whole. Subsequently, the critical purview of novelistic phantasmagoria is proposed as the fabric that unites the, otherwise, fragmented paragraphs into an articulate work of literature. Julia Kristeva’s psychoanalytic idea of the ‘khora’ enables this essay to examine how the ‘mother’ pulsating under the symbolic eventually evolves from a nurturer to a devourer. Jacques Lacan’s idea of the ‘paternal metaphor’ aids this article to show how the symbolic (the structural order of the society) may become articulately repressive that the nurturer/ mother dialectic (the intricate relationship that makes a people a nation) is blurred. Melaine Klein’s psychoanalytic theory of Projective Identification enables this essay to examine how the narrator in W/ H is able to project the phobic object from the khora pulsating below the Downloaded by [Kenyatta University] at 00:16 11 January 2018 symbolic into the psyche in order to warn the post-apartheid South African subject against perpetuating oppressive laws that had pitched the country/ mother into repression during the apartheid era. Through textual analysis, the essay hopes to validate the assumption that the author deploys novelistic phantasmagoria as a unique imaginative pathway for unlocking a potentially therapeutic space with literary efficacy for freeing South Africa from the disarticulating repressed phobic colonial and apartheid objects of subjugation.
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Phantasmagoria, Spectres of hysteria, Literary slide, Projection, W/ H ‒ Whiteheart, Prologue to Hysteria, Lesego Rampolokeng