Pauline Smith 1852 – 1959

 

In an article published in 1945 in the journal South African Opinion and reprinted in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, the South African poet and novelist Herman Charles Bosman concluded: “Smith’s stories are … forever a part of South African literature. They depict South African life with a truth and a beauty which no writer has so far achieved in the short story form”.

Her stories spring from her vivid experiences of traveling as a young girl with her doctor father who treated patients in the Little Karoo. What she learned about the existence of these pious people in isolated farming communities left a lasting impression on her which was to surface later in the physical and emotional landscape of their daily lives which she captured in her books.

In a review of The Little Karoo, one critic wrote:” Smith has succeeded overwhelmingly in breathing life into the Karoo, with its remote farms and hamlets, its laborious journeys in a rumbling ox cart, its stern, sober, simple, shrewd men and women, its utter detachment from the world and civilization”.

…and South African novelist and critic Nadine Gordimer praised the simplicity and unity of The Beadle, saying “This is one of the great novels that should never be allowed to go out of print. It will always be rediscovered with astonishment and admiration.”

Scripted and Directed by: Sandra Herrington

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