Books > Language & Literature > Literature: history & criticism > Novels, other prose & writers
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Nagmusiek is a startling addition to contemporary South African
fiction and biography. The book is both a scholarly study of the
Afrikaans composer Arnold van Wyk and a work of fiction in which
the author/biographer - who is and is not Stephanus Muller -
highjacks his own literary undertaking. It is an extraordinary
meditation on the art of biography, on South African classical
music under the apartheid regime, and on the complicated
relationship between life and fiction. Van Wyk’s musical
composition, for which this book is named, is a ‘modernist poem of
loss, of pain, of flickering memory, of dignified death’. Muller
sets out to explore Van Wyk’s work and in the process creates an
epic and genre-defying work of his own. This is an important book,
a profoundly scholarly undertaking that will be a vital
contribution to the field of Van Wyk studies in South Africa, but
at the same time a groundbreaking work of experimental fiction.
Stephanus Muller was raised in the Karoo and studied music and
musicology at the universities of Pretoria, South Africa and
Oxford. He teaches musicology at the University of Stellenbosch,
where he is also the founder and head of the Documentation Centre
for Music (DOMUS). He has published research and essays on many
South African composers and is the co-editor of A Composer in
Africa: Essays on the Life and Work of Stefans Grové (2006) and
Gender and Sexuality in South African Music (2005).
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