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van der Post, Laurens

african south missions war

(South African, 1906–96)

Van der Post spent most of his life undertaking official missions abroad for the British Government and the Colonial Development Corporation. Many of these missions became the subject of his fiction and travel writing. Although criticized for his conservative and individualistic politics, his early novel, In a Province (1934), is a scathing attack on South African racism. A Far-Off Place (1974) with its religious overtones and its quest for wholeness and communion with nature is representative of van der Post's work. The Seed and the Sower (1963) is based on van der Post's imprisonment in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during the Second World War. In 1983 it was made into the film, Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence starring Tom Conti. Much of van der Post's work is influenced by the psychoanalytical theories of Carl Jung.

Henry Rider Haggard, André Brink  EW

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