Olive Schreiner at 150: some thoughts on re-editing Cronwright's The Reinterment on Buffelskop

Walters, P.S. and Fogg, W.J.M. (2006) Olive Schreiner at 150: some thoughts on re-editing Cronwright's The Reinterment on Buffelskop. English in Africa, 33 (1). pp. 9-21. ISSN 0376-8902




[From the introduction]: The original edition of Cronwright’s The Reinterment on Buffelskop (1983) was produced by Guy Butler and Nick Visser to commemorate the centenary of the 1883 publication of The Story of an African Farm. The Butler-Visser text was a photographic reproduction of a typed carbon copy of the first part of Cronwright’s extant diaries plus a special diary he had kept covering in detail the events of the actual reinterment. (The originals are now at the National English Literary Museum [NELM].) Butler included a comprehensive and illuminating introduction to these texts, as well as – under separate soft cover – a set of “Provisional Notes” which draw deeply on his own and his family’s accumulated knowledge of Cradock, its environs and inhabitants. In addition, Butler and Visser included two passages excised by Cronwright from the typescript of his Life of Olive Schreiner: a word picture of Charles Heathcote, and the longer account of “The Nienaber Incident” – pages which deal with the execution of three innocent men at De Aar on 19 March 1901, and Cronwright’s subsequent attempts at legal reparation for them and their families. The substantive text of the Butler-Visser edition is often difficult to read because of the method of reproduction; moreover, because it also reproduces Cronwright’s emendations (in ink) of the typescript, it is frankly uninviting. Thus, when the NELM Council proposed a publication commemorating the 150th anniversary of Olive Schreiner’s birth on 24 March 1855, it seemed appropriate that a second attempt be made to give students of Olive Schreiner’s works easier access to Cronwright’s detailed account of this “bizarre, romantic” episode. Furthermore, from the perspective of text history, the typescript of the Reinterment antedates both Cronwright’s Life and The Letters of Olive Schreiner. Parts of it are clearly Cronwright’s preliminary ‘notes towards’ his Life, and, as Butler hypothesizes, the whole of the Reinterment might have been intended as a separate (and earlier) publication. Finally, the sarcophagus on Buffelskop is one of South Africa’s more noteworthy literary shrines: while the idea of re-editing an account of Olive Schreiner’s reinterment might be thought to be a futile exercise in intellectual recycling, our intention is that both husband and wife should live again through a rediscovery of the thoughts and feelings that led them to this dramatic final resting-place.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Paul Walters is the Molteno Professor in the English Department, Rhodes University
Uncontrolled Keywords:The Reinterment on Buffelskop; Olive Schreiner; S.C. Cronwright-Schreiner; Cronwright; The Story of an African Farm; Guy Butler; Nick Visser; National English Literary Museum; NELM; reinterment; shrine; sarcophagus; diaries; Buffelskop; Cradock; South Africa
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > English
ID Code:1068
Deposited On:28 Aug 2008
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:19
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