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Van der Post, Laurens.

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A mantis carol. Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. To learn more about how to request items watch this short online video. You can view this on the NLA website. Login Register. Advanced search Search history. Browse titles authors subjects uniform titles series callnumbers dewey numbers starting from optional.

See what's been added to the collection in the current 1 2 3 4 5 6 weeks months years. Your reader barcode: Your last name:. The mantis refers to the praying mantis, which according to van der Post is a key God in the culture of the San Bushmen of the Kalahari, and an American woman contacted him regarding dreams she had about a recurring dream she had been having featuring a a praying mantis. The book, however, is not about the praying mantis or though it recurs in the narrative like a leitmotif.

Nor is it about the relationship with this woman. It is about finding meaning in the serendipitous This is a strange book.


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It is about finding meaning in the serendipitous experiences we experiences and the connections we make along the way. The contacts with the woman lead to a trip to the States, where in Philadelphia he encounters a woman who attends all his lectures at the Quaker retreat center Pendle Hill, who is desperate to engage with van der Post regarding her own serendipitous connection to the Bushmen, a fellow who went by the name of Hans Taaibosch she had apparently gotten to know many years earlier. Taaibosch's appearance in this woman's life is something of a mystery.

He had ended up in a partnership with a colonial Brit, who had turned him into a sideshow attraction after World War I and gotten him to Jamaica, where an American lawyer took pity on Taaibosch and the less than fair relationship and brought him to the States and connected him to a circus, before sending the colonial Brit packing. It is unclear whether Taaibosch then took up residence with the lawyer's family or if he just was a regular guest there, but form the way van der Post conveys the story this woman told him, she must have been in regular contact with the man in the s.

While Taaibosch fascinated her, and he apparently enjoyed her presence --she seems to have been still a child -- sharing some of his customs she never learned the how and why he had come to leave his homeland. It is her need to make sense of Taaibosch with someone who was familiar with San culture that led her to seek out van der Post, and which leads to what a short intense relationship with van der Post centered around her experiences of Taaibosch and what van der Post can tell her about Taaibosch's worldview. This leads to van der Post's ruminations that Taaibosch, a lone figure from a persecuted almost exterminated culture, is a kind of Christ figure marking the twilight of this new imperial age.

I was initially worried that van der Post might overly romanticize the San, and perhaps he does elsewhere, but the San as a whole are not really the focus beyond their close connection to their world, which westerners have lost. In the end, van der Post's argument is that we love each other and value the time spent with each other in communion, no matter how short and in so doing reengage with the world and recognize the strange interconnections that in this case had brought van der Post together with this woman to hear the sad, story of Taaibosch seasoned with the loving connection between her, perhaps the lawyer, and a few others and Taaibosch.

a Mantis Carol Laurens Van Der Post 0140116567

Compelling as this story is and necessary as van der Post's admonition to love one another is, I was frustrated. I had gotten hold of this book because I wanted to learn more about the praying mantis and San culture. I also wish van der Post had offered some kind of plausible reconstruction of how it might have happened that Taaibosch might have become disconnected from his band.

Maybe there was just too little to go on, but even a brief two-page history of colonial interaction with the San in before and during WWI would have been helpful, even if that is not the point of van der Post's book.

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Sep 05, Jamie rated it really liked it. I read this book in two ways that are so different from one another that I was never fully certain whether I loved it or wanted to shrink away from it. First of all, the figure of Hans Taaibosch comes down to we the readers third-hand.

A woman who knew him when she was a young girl tells van der Post about him presumably decades after Hans has died. And also presumably, she is from a wealthy white American background and she is sharing her story with a well-to-do, well-travelled white South Afric I read this book in two ways that are so different from one another that I was never fully certain whether I loved it or wanted to shrink away from it. And also presumably, she is from a wealthy white American background and she is sharing her story with a well-to-do, well-travelled white South African anthropologist.

The subject of their moving conversation is essentially an example of the Noble Savage. Yes, it's a bit more complicated, but that's what it boiled down to for me, and even when the story seems to transcend its post-?


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But on the other hand, there is the less jaded, less socially aware part of me that was deeply touched by van der Post's message of love and how Hans embodied it in the way that humans are meant to. He rages against what the world has become, and how shut off humans are now from the force of love and the joy and meaning that it can bring to life. He decries how shut off from nature humans have become. He leans heavily on Christianity and Jesus Christ's embodiment of love, and having been raised a Christian I found myself connecting emotionally with that concept even though intellectually I was never comfortable with how Hans was portrayed as the noble savage.

I'm not sure if I can ever reconcile those two readings. This is a well-written piece, though it's never quite clear when exactly he wrote it or when the events detailed took place and that was a little frustrating at times. But if it were as simple as taking what he is saying about Hans at face value, the world would probably be easier to improve and change. As it is, there is a big old elephant sitting in between the pages of this book and van der Post never really faces it head-on. I don't blame him; the message he so eloquently shares here likely retains its beauty and nobility because of that omission.

Mar 10, Kashiya Mbinjama rated it it was ok. Just another romantic story about the eurocentric remorse for the evils of colonialism. An important story I guess.

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I appreciate the beautiful writing and the the unique perspective and longing to honor what shouldn't be forgotten. But this endangers the authenticity of what real remorse should look like. I swat and slap, but they just laugh on the updraft of my flapping, batting hands. The banana gone, I open a window, hoping they will make off to some other repast but they post a halo round my head, two hundred wingbeats to a second, hatched with a brain far quicker than mine.

At my desk, I am possessed, follow the threads for evidence. In the face of this invasion, I am an avenger sent to stop a plague,. I watch them drown one by one, then return to my desk. But just.

I spin back into battle, set the trap again, more delicious, more sugar, more stealth. It sits on the lip, licks at the cling-film, sips. I strike. It dies a vinegar death. Through the rest of the day I revisit the site.

A Mantis Carol by Laurens Van der Post - FictionDB

No sign of return. The next morning no-one is there, the jar untouched, my table bare in the desolate kitchen. I try to work but keep coming back to stand like an expectant host waiting to welcome the guest I miss. I with my triumphant bites Vex useless human parasites. You world-devourers are for — what? Refer me, lady, to your Gaia — My jaws will raise your blush of fire.

Fleas acquire some charming tropes For amorous fluid-mingling hopes; Lice? Makes you itch. I am for nothing — only to increase My number, swelling after my decease. Green petitioner — limbs up, at the twelfth-hour — in hope of prey.

This small world, thinning. The green of the cesspool is the green of ceremonial grade matcha. Having made a botch. Since I am no longer wont to be targeted as Chilon the Ephor. The fact that a rabble tends to rouse the rabble is no less true of our raised bogs than the Boulevard Saint-Germain. Pieces swerved into the prismatic. A magnetic, maniac, detail turbulent with attention. Soon all the fruit bowl will be moving. A once-dense peach is deflating. And what can she do but stare from her hospital bed; seeming all the stiller for her slow pink eyelids, those quick teaspoon breaths.

Chubby infant pythons, its four siblings cowered under leaves.