Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Aspects of "History" in The Long Silence of Mario Salviati

Neil Cochrane.

In the proposed paper I wish to focus on a contemporary South African novel titled The long silence of Mario Salviati (2000) (original Afrikaans Die swye van Mario Salviati) by South African author Etienne van Heerden. This literary text should be analised within the context of the anew interest of Afrikaans authors after 1998 in historical events especially in the South African War (1899-1902).
In The long silence of Mario Salviati one of the main points of focus falls on the history of Italian prisoners of war that were banned to South Africa during the Second World War (1939-1945). Attention will be given to the presence of "history" in the novel, the role of fictionalization, "narrativity", and historiographic meta-fiction. The role of the novel as a construct to create "social memory" will also be examined, with special attention paid to the "social memory" of Italian prisoners of war during the Second World War.


Neil Cochrane  (South Africa)
Junior lecturer
Department of Afrikaans School of Languages Faculty of Humanities
University of Pretoria

Neil Cochrane obtained a BA degree in Publishing Studies in 1999 from the University of Pretoria. This was followed by a Honors degree in Publishing Studies and a Honors degree in Afrikaans also obtained at the University of Pretoria. In 2004 Cochrane completed a MA degree in Afrikaans Literature. He will persue with a DLitt degree in 2004. In this study he wishes to focus on the role of the artist a social prophet in contemporary Afrikaans prose. He is a junior lecturer for the past for years within the Department of Afrikaans at the University of Pretoria. He publishes academic articles in several academic journals focusing on Afrikaans literature. His fields of interest are contemporary Afrikaans literature, the sociology of literature and literature and community. Cochrane is also a creative writer. Several of his poems and short stories have appeared in South African literary journals

  • Historiography
  • Meta-fiction
  • Fictionalization
  • History versus story
Person as Subject
  • Italian prisoners of war Mario Salviati

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)