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George McCall Theal

George McCall Theal (1837 - 1919) was born in the United States but settled in South Africa as a young man and went on to become a well-known South African historian. Theal published many volumes on South African history and also collected oral history. He is now viewed as writing a version of South African history uncritically in favour of white settlers and presenting black South Africans in a racist and stereotyped way, as ‘savages’ in need of civilizing. However, this seems to have been the result of something of a sea-change in his views, with Schreiner’s letters commenting in disgusted amazement about differences between the original version of his monumental history of South Africa, and a new edition which she found unacceptably retrograde in the views it propounded

For further information see:
Christopher Saunders (1988) The Making of the South African Past: Major Historians on Race and Class Cape Town: David Philip
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collection icon SCCS Edited Extracts: Four groups of edited extracts from Olive Schreiner's letters can be accessed from here, made by her estranged husband Cronwr... Show/Hide Collection Letters
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