Night writing: The textual ideation of Andrew Jeptha
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The publication A South African Boxer in Britain contains the unique aesthetic of the Cape Town born boxer Andrew Jeptha, the first black fighter to win a British welterweight title in 1907. The booklet was published in 1910 to offer pecuniary relief to the blinded author (Jeptha) who incurred the affliction during the very match that secured him the title. Thus, although masquerading as a ‘light read’ of sporting achievements and memories from abroad, I argue the booklet authorises a complex thinking on text, disability and boxing. The thesis takes care to present the publication as a crucial historical work that offers a level of psychic and racial strategy not naturally thought to exist in the genesis of a turn-of-the-century boxer. The textual ideation manifest in Jeptha’s booklet is mooted within the thesis as distinctive in its accommodation of both desire and difference, rendering a calculation that sees the text not as the deserted boundary where ‘mind’ and ‘flesh’ depart, but rather as a particular bibliographic configuration where both these worlds meet in a moment that remands reductive views of the gladiator and his words of care.