“More than fifty years ago South Africa’s most important newspaper opined that
southern Africa was blessed in having three such wonderful young women writers
as Doris Lessing, Nadine Gordimer and Daphne Rooke. Of the three, it believed,
the best was clearly Rooke.” The TLS, July 2006|
The Toby Press is delighted to be issuing new editions of Daphne Rooke’s remarkable and
timeless novels. We expect that a new generation of readers will appreciate and relish some
of the finest South African writing of the last century.
First published in 1952, Mittee was an international bestseller.
Set in late nineteenth-century Transvaal, it dramatizes the
intense, ambiguous love-hate relationship between Selina, a
young colored servant girl, and her privileged white mistress,
Mittee, and explores the roles forced upon the two women,
fierce rivals for the attentions of the same man. Juxtaposing
violence and sexuality the author crosses gender and
racial boundaries in this powerful exposure of a patriarchal,
puritanical and divided society.
With an outstanding analysis and afterword by the Nobel
Prize Winner, J.M. Coetzee.
About the Author
DAPHNE ROOKE (born 1914), was born in Boksburg, Transvaal, of an English father
and Afrikaans mother, and grew up in Durban. She later moved to Zululand, where A
Grove of Fever Trees, her first novel, was set. During, the 1930s she worked as a journalist
in South Africa. She married an Australian and moved there with him. Mittee was
published in 1951 and became an international bestseller. It was followed in subsequent
years by a series of striking novels on turbulent South African themes. Rooke ultimately
moved to England, and lives in Cambridge.
The Critics Praise:
“A triumph.” - Time
“An uncommonly fluent and accomplished storyteller.”
- The Times Literary Supplement
“It is difficult to resist the fierce power of this novel.”