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Professor of English, Rhodes University

Teaching & Research Interests:
White writing on Shaka; African literature; Southern African poetry; twentieth-century prose and poetry; spirituality and poetry; and ecological issues in literature.

Professor Wylie has published several articles on white writing on Shaka, and on Zimbabwean literature. His book, Savage Delight: White Myths of Shaka (Natal University Press) was published in 2000. He is also a published poet. His collection The
Road Out appeared in 1996, winning the 1998 Ingrid Jonker and Olive Schreiner prizes.

Selected Publications
(A) Books, parts of books

1994 “Henry Rider Haggard”, “South African Colonial Mythology”, in E D Benson et al, eds. Enyclopaedia of Postcolonial Literatures (London, Routledge), vol.1, 620-1, 839-42.

1995 “Language and Assassination: Cultural negations in white writers’ portrayal of Shaka”, in C Hamilton ed. The ‘Mfecane’ Aftermath (Wits University Press), 71-103.

1996 The Road Out (poems; Snailpress)
Special mention: Noma Award for Publishing in Africa 1997
Winner Ingrid Jonker Prize for poetry 1998
Winner Olive Schreiner Prize 1998

1998 “Taking Resentment for Wisdom: A Posthumous Conversation between Dambudzo Marechera, N H Brettell and George Grosz”, in A J Chennells and Flora Veit-Wild, eds, Dambudzo Marechera, Africa World Press, Lawrenceville NJ. 315-331.

2000 Savage Delight: White Myths of Shaka (monograph; Natal University Press).

“Animals, Arcadia, Allegory, &c”, in Ivan Vladislavic, ed. T’kama-Adamastor:Inventions of Africa in a South African Painting. Wits UP. 153-161.

“Chenjerai Hove”, “N H Brettell”, “Henry Rider Haggard”, in Douglas Killam and Ruth Rowe, eds, The Companion to African Literatures in English (James Currey, London)

2001 Original Forest (poems; self published)

“Elephants and the Ethics of Ecological Criticism: A case study in recent South African fiction”. In Sue Kossew and Dianne Schwerdt, eds, Re-Imagining Africa: New Critical Perspectives. (Nova Science, New York). 175-193.

2002 “‘Dead Leaves’: Reflections on writing a memoir of the Rhodesian conflict.” In Chris van der Merwe and Rolf Wolfswinkel, eds. Telling Wounds: Narrative, Trauma & Memory; working through the SA armed conflicts of the 20th century. Van Schaik/UCT. 190-194.

Dead Leaves: Two years in the Rhodesian war. University of Natal Press.

2005 “‘Mind has mountains’: Poetry and ecology in Eastern Zimbabwe”. In Versions of Zimbabwe, ed Ranka Primorac and Robert Muponde, James Currey: London.

2006 Myth of Iron: Shaka in History. UKZN Press: Pietermaritzburg.

The Fourteen: Sonnets from amongst the Portuguese (poetry: self-published)

2007 Road Work (poetry: Echoing Green Press)

2008 Elephant (Reaktion Books: London)

(Editor) Toxic Belonging?: Identity and ecology in Southern Africa (Cambridge Scholars Press: London)

“White myths of Shaka”. In Benedict Carton, John Laband and Jabulani Sithole, eds. Zulu Identities: Being Zulu, past and present. Univerity of KwaZulu-Natal Press: Pietermaritzburg.

2011 Shaka: A pocket biography. (Jacana: Johannesburg)

(B) Articles in refereed journals

1991 “Who’s Afraid of Shaka Zulu?”, Southern African Review of Books. 4/3, 15-17.

“Autobiography as Alibi: Nathaniel Isaacs’ Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa (1836)”. Current Writing 3, 71-90.

“Language Thieves: English-Language Strategies in two Zimbabwean novellas”, English in Africa 18/2, 39-62.

1992 “Textual Incest: Nathaniel Isaacs and the Development of the Shaka Myth”, History in Africa 19, 411-33.

1993 “A Dangerous Admiration: E A Ritter’s Shaka Zulu”, Southern African Historical Journal 28, 98-118.

1994 “Shaka and the modern Zulu State”, History Today 44/5, 8-11.

“An Icon in the Whirlpool”, New Contrast 22/4, 67-77.

1995 “Shaka and the Myths of Paradise”, English in Africa 22/1, 19-47.

“The Selves in the Other: The Shaka Poems of D J Darlow and F T Prince”, Current Writing 7/1, 70-87.

“‘Proprietor of Natal’: Henry Francis Fynn and the Mythography of Shaka”, History in Africa 22, 409-437.

1998 “The Wilderness in the Blood”, English Academy Review 14. 176-191

“Living Poetry: An experience of pedagogical discovery”. English Studies in Africa 14/1. 89-106.

1999 “Broken Bottles Beneath the Lawn”, English Academy Review 15, 113-8.

2001 “Elephants and Compassion: Ecological criticism and South African hunting literature”. English in Africa. 28(2). 79-100.

2002 “‘Speaking Crystals’: The Poetry of Lionel Abrahams and South African Liberalism”. African Literatures Today 23, 101-9.

“The Anthropomorphic Ethic: Fiction and the Animal Mind in Virginia Woolf’s Flush and Barbara Gowdy’s The White Bone.” ISLE (Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment) 9.2, 115-132.

2003 “Clutching a handful of granulated glass”. Review essay. Scrutiny2 8/1, 62-69.

“‘Hollow land of emptiness’: repression and ecology in some early Rhodesian poetry.” English Academy Review, 19:1-11.

2005 Review. Jeff Opland, The Dassie and the Hunter. English in Africa 32/2, 247-51.

2006 ‘Why Write a Poem about Elephants?’ Mosaic 39/4, 27-46.

Introduction and guest editor. Current Writing 18/1 (Literature & Ecology special issue)

2007 “Imagined corners: Ec(o)centrism in some Eastern Cape poetry.” Scrutiny2 12/1, 30-45.

‘//Kabbo’s Challenge: Transculturation and the question of a South African ecocriticism’. Journal of Literary Studies. 23/3, 252-270.

‘“Muscled Presence”: Douglas Livingstone’s poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Snake”’. (With Mariss Everitt). English in Africa 34/1, 133-154.

‘”Now strangers walk in that place”: Antjie Krog, modernity, and the making of //Kabbo’s story’. Current Writing 19/2, 49-71.

‘”Unconscious nobility”: The animal poetry of Harold Farmer’. English in Africa 34/2, 79-92.

2008 “’Long and Wandering Forest’: Sidney Clouts, geophilosophy and trees.’ Alternation 14.2, 72 - 96.

‘The Schizophrenias of Truth-Telling in Contemporary Zimbabwe’ English Studies in Africa 50.2, 151 - 170.


  • –present
    Professor of English, Rhodes University