Author of English Literature
Professor at the English Department, Stellenbosch University, 1987-2003
Michiel Heyns was born on 2 December 1943 in Stellenbosch.
He served as professor of English at Stellenbosch University from 1987 until
2003, when he took early retirement to be a full time author.
Michiel Heyns reviews regularly for the Sunday Independent.
Quote: One must imagine Sisyphus happy. (Albert Camus)
Pringle Prize for a Literary Article 1992-3 for Another World Altogether?, The Knight's Tale and the Cape Times Theoria 80 (1992), 1-23.
Expulsion and the Nineteenth-Century Novel: The Scapegoat in English Realist Fiction (Oxford University Press, 1994)
The Childrenís Day, Jonathan Ball, 2002
Translated into Afrikaans as Verkeerdespruit
The Reluctant Passenger, Jonathan Ball, 2003
The typewriter's tale, Jonathan Ball, 2005
Bodies politic, Jonathan Ball, 2008
Lost Ground, Jonathan Ball, 2011
Invisible Furies, Jonathan Ball, 2012
[From The Childrenís Day]
Having had the protected childhood that was the only kind possible in
Verkeerdespruit, I was used to piecing together my understanding of the great
world from literature in the broadest sense, that is, almost anything that I
could find to read in an unliterary community. Steve, I learnt from old copies
of Die Huisgenoot in Mr Welthagenís barberís shop where I reluctantly went once
a month to have my head scraped with his blunt clipper, was not unique. 'He's a
ducktail,' I announced one day as we were standing around outside Steyl's cafe
hoping Steve would arrive. 'You can see it from the way he combs his hair.'
The Children's Day is in Afrikaans vertaal as Verkeerdespruit - na my mening een van die aangrypendste romans oor 'n Suid-Afrikaanse jeug.
[From The Reluctant Passenger]
I'm fond of reading, but sometimes find it difficult to concentrate on very long books. My friend Gerhard says my attention span is adjusted to the sonnet rather than to the nineteenth-century novel, but I donít seem to find poetry very interesting either: thereís such a lot of unassimilated emotion around for so little reason, as far as I can see. Gerhard says the point of the sonnet is exactly that it tidies up the emotion, but Iím not sure that uncontrollable passion succumbs that easily to a few quatrains and a rhyming couplet. I once saw a man transporting his Rottweiler in a shopping trolley through a No Dogs Allowed area: the beast was clearly well trained, and stayed put, but you could see that all it really wanted to do was chew the wheels off all the trolleys in the universe. That's the sonnet.
Text by Michiel Heyns, July 2003
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