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Schreiner, Olive

african south

(South African, 1855–1920)

Born to white parents on a mission station, Schreiner spent the early years of her life working as a governess on remote karoo farms. Her most acclaimed work, The Story of an African Farm (1883), is ground-breaking. Through the two main characters, Lyndall, desperate to be an independent woman, and Waldo, who searches for eternal truths, Schreiner challenges the status quo of late-nineteenth-century South Africa. She questions the tenets of colonialism, the institution of marriage, and the disintegration of religious faith. After a trip to England Schreiner became involved with the socialist and feminist movement. Undine (1929) and From Man to Man (1926) were published posthumously and continued to question the role of women in her society.

Doris Lessing, Nadine Gordimer  EW

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