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The Ecological Thought of J. M. Coetzee: The Case of Life and Times of Michael K
Shadi Neimneh,Fatima Muhaidat
Studies in Literature and Language , 2012, DOI: 10.3968/2269
Abstract: This paper argues that J. M. Coetzee’s 1983 novel Life and Times of Michael K is informed by a rich and early ecological vision that has not been adequately considered so far. It argues that Coetzee demonstrates an interest in all living organisms and pays attention to their environment and interaction. It is argued that Coetzee’s ethicopolitical vision is not limited to humans and that minor forms of life like plants and animals are as significant as human life on earth. The result is that the “non-human other” is never ignored in Coetzee, which testifies to the importance of a broad philosophical vision that acknowledges rather than subsumes difference. This paper, hence, makes a connection between Coetzee’s ecological vision and his ethicopolitical attention to otherness. The result is what we can call Coetzee’s “ecological postcolonialism.” In addition, my argument explores and defends an often underplayed theme in Coetzee’s fiction, namely that of gardening. While some recent Coetzee scholarship has acknowledged the significant presence of animals in his fiction, that of vegetation remains by far underplayed. In Coetzee’s vision, plants and landscapes are unduly ignored and exploited in times of political strife, which accounts for Coetzee’s ecocritical—and by implication political—relevance. In other words, Coetzee’s ecological vision—I seek to prove—is still richly political as an inveigh against various forms of injustice, including but not limited to apartheid. Key words: Coetzee; Fiction; Ecology; Life and Times of Michael K; Postcolonialism; Ethics; Politics; Ecocriticism
Narrative authority in J.M. Coetzee's Age of Iron
Ian Duncan
Tydskrif vir letterkunde , 2006,
Abstract: This paper explores the complex nature of narrative authority in J.M. Coetzee's Age of Iron, set in an apartheid South Africa at a moment of extreme political crisis. At first glance, it seems as though Mrs. Curren's ability to comment on and judge the events of the Emergency is constantly undermined, as Coetzee appears to deliberately place her in a marginalized position that cannot claim any real authority over the events she witnesses. However, reading the novel through the critical lens of Coetzee's 1996 essay on Erasmus' In Praise of Folly, it appears that in this novel Coetzee is in fact in search of a position from which one may tell the truth from the outside, without inserting oneself into the rivalrous binary of political oppression and resistance that implies an unavoidable taking of sides (i.e. that of Folly itself). In the end, however, Coetzee is forced to admit that this privileged position of objective truth-telling may not in fact exist, that it is only through the subjective discourse of storytelling – a discourse, however, that is no less authoritative for its being a wholly personal act of witnessing – that one can speak the truth.
J.M. Coetzee, Scenes from Provincial Life  [cached]
Sophie E. Hughes
Opticon1826 , 2011, DOI: 10.5334/opt.111113
Abstract: Double-page cover articles in the Times Literary Supplement such as Stephen Abell s on Coetzee scholarship (February 23, 2011) are a tribute usually reserved for great writers who no longer themselves yield work for review; such writers, to put it crudely, tend to be dead. J. M. Coetzee, of course, falls under neither category: a rare appearance and reading of his novel-in-progress as part of the University of York s international conference on Samuel Beckett this June confirmed both his continued productivity and, if not liveliness, certainly his aliveness.
Daddy Issues in J. M. Coetzee’s In the Heart of the Country  [cached]
Dwi Setiawan,Liliek S. Yuwono
[email protected] : a Biannual Publication on the Study of Language and Literature , 2010,
Abstract: In this article, we try to explore the psychological problems of Magda, the main female character in J.M. Coetzee’s In the Heart of the Country, and the causes of the disorders. Using the theories of Oedipus Complex in females, we try to prove that Magda suffers from neurosis, which later develops into psychosis. The serious mental problems in the young lady result from her unsuccesful resolution of her sexual desire towards her own father. Magda’s female Oedipus Complex is caused by the absence of the mother figure, the sexual attachment to the father, and the unrevoked hatred toward the mother competitor.
Disgrace of Stereotypical Ambivalence: A Postcolonial Perspective on J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace
Min WANG,Xiaoyan TANG
Studies in Literature and Language , 2012, DOI: 10.3968/j.sll.1923156320120503.1116
Abstract: The study is an attempt to clarify the thematic misgivings J. M. Coetzee’s Booker Prize winning novel Disgrace has aroused by having a detailed discussion on the protagonist David Lurie, his stereotypical ambivalence and his disgrace, so as to reveal that under Coetzee’s lucid and evasive language, he intends to disclose the secret of disgrace for the whites in the new South Africa after the collapse of the apartheid system. Key words: David Lurie; Disgrace; Stereotypical ambivalence
(Hi)story in Search of Author(ity): Feminine Narration in J.M. Coetzee’s Foe
Mina Mehrabadi,Hossein Pirnajmuddin
Studies in Literature and Language , 2012, DOI: 10.3968/j.sll.1923156320120501.1190
Abstract: Considering women as marginalized in the patriarchal frames, postcolonial studies has given impetus to a more meticulous study of the (mis)representation of women in literature. In parallel, Post-colonial writers have tried to give voice to this silenced group. Deprived of a voice in Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, the female is given prominence as the narrator of its postmodern rewriting, Coetzee’s Foe. An exemplary postcolonial work in many respects, Foe also focuses the intersection of postcolonialsim and feminism in its use of a female point of view. The present paper is an attempt to analyze the significance of this female narrator, Susan Barton, with regard to such postcolonial issues as resistance, identity and language. Central to the discussion is the modality of Coetzee’s postmodern rewriting, that is, his employment of ‘historiographic metafiction’ and its relevance to the postcolonial issues addressed. Key words: J.M. Coetzee; Foe; Daniel Defoe; Robinson Crusoe; Historiographic metafiction; Colonialism; Feminine narration; History
Disability and the Ethics of Care in J. M. Coetzee’s Slow Man  [cached]
Shadi Neimneh,Nazmi Al-Shalabi
Cross-Cultural Communication , 2011, DOI: 10.3968/j.ccc.1923670020110703.123
Abstract: This essay interrogates the interrelationship between bodily disability and the ethics of care in J. M. Coetzee’s novel Slow Man . It argues that disability emerges as an ethically charged subject, an engagement with the ethics of care. The discussion shows that the novel consists of acts of giving and, thus, receiving care. It is argued that the novel employs and interrogates the language of care and the nuanced meanings of the term. We assert a theme elaborated in Coetzee’s earlier fictions that ethics and politics are inseparable and that ethics is the necessary starting point for political commitment in fiction. While the interplay between ethics and politics in Coetzee’s apartheid fictions revolves mainly around apartheid politics, the ethics of care interrogated in Slow Man reveal a broader realm of relevance in the post-apartheid fictions that includes humans in general. In Coetzee’s vision, to suffer, i.e. to need care or to be willing to care for others, is part of being human. Key words: Coetzee; Ethics; Care; Slow Man ; Disability; Politics; (post)Apartheid fiction Résumé Ce texte interroge les liens entre le handicapé physique et les soins d'éthique du roman de l’homme lent de JM Coetzee. Il soutient que le handicapé appara t comme un sujet éthique chargée, un engagement avec les soins d'éthique. La discussion montre que le roman consiste en des actes de donner et de recevoir ainsi des soins. Il est soutenu que le roman emploie et interroge la langue de soins et les significations nuancées avec les termes. Nous affirmons un thème élaboré dans les fictions antérieures Coetzee que l'éthique et la politique sont indissociables et que l'éthique est le point de départ nécessaire pour l'engagement politique dans la fiction. Alors que l'interaction entre éthique et politique d'apartheid dans les fictions de Coetzee tourne principalement autour de la politique d'apartheid, l'éthique des soins interrogé en homme lent révèlent un large domaine de pertinence dans les fictions post-apartheid qui comprend les humains en général. Dans la vision de Coetzee, de souffrir, c'est à dire avoir besoin de soins ou d'être disposé à prendre soin des autres, fait partie de l'être humain. Mots clés: Coetzee; Ethique; Soins; Homme lent; Handicapé; Politique; Fiction d'apartheid (post)
Ses dekades opvoedingsfilosofie sedert J. Chris Coetzee – waar staan ons vandag?
J.L. van der Walt
Koers : Bulletin for Christian Scholarship , 2005, DOI: 10.4102/koers.v70i3.274
Abstract: Six decades of philosophy of education since J. Chris Coetzee – where do we stand today? Approximately six decades have gone by since Professor J. Chris Coetzee first published his “Introduction to the philosophy of education” (the title of which can be translated as “Introduction to general theoretical education”). This article is aimed at explaining how the field of reformational philosophy of education in South Africa has developed during these six decades. The discussion does not follow the pattern of a mere historical review of events in the field. Use is made of recent developments in the fields of the history and sociology of science to explain the condition that philosophy of education in South Africa currently finds itself. Theories about the evolution of science developed by Kuhn, Neurath, Barrow and others are used to explain the nature of the crises experienced in this field of science.
J. M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians: Hermeneutics and Literary Theory  [cached]
Shadi Neimneh,Nazmi Al-Shalabi,Fatima Muhaidat
Canadian Social Science , 2012, DOI: 10.3968/2322
Abstract: This paper resists a traditional allegorical approach to one of Coetzee’s major apartheid novels, Waiting for the Barbarians, by focusing more on the novel’s structural and textual import rather than its discursive representation of South African politics. Although this reading is itself ultimately allegorical, it is argued that it is anti-allegorical because it points out the limitations of allegorical representation whereby we read a clear relationship between the text and its external context. Highlighting acts of reading and interpretation, often failed, the novel poses as a challenge to literary theory. As such, it is not only an allegory against itself but also a postmodern example of the relativity of truth, the indeterminacy of meaning, and the necessary textualization of experience via the written word. Key words: Coetzee; South African fiction; Waiting for the Barbarians; literary theory; hermeneutics; allegory; writerly text; polyphony; postmodernism Résumé Ce document résiste à une approche traditionnelle allégorique à l’un des romans de Coetzee fondamentales sur l’apartheid, Waiting for the Barbarians, en se concentrant davantage sur l’importation structurelle et textuelle du roman plut t que sa représentation discursive de la politique sud-africaine. Bien que cette lecture est elle-même en fin de compte allégorique, il est soutenu qu’il est anti-allégorique, car il souligne les limites de la représentation allégorique dans lequel on peut lire une relation claire entre le texte et son contexte externe. Soulignant les actes de lecture et d’interprétation, souvent échoué, le roman se présente comme un défi à la théorie littéraire. En tant que tel, ce n’est pas seulement une allégorie contre lui-même, mais aussi un exemple postmoderne de la relativité de la vérité, l’indétermination du sens, et la textualisation de l’expérience nécessaires par l’intermédiaire du mot écrit. Mots-clés: Coetzee; De la fiction d’Africainesud; Waiting for the Barbarians; La théorie littéraire; L’herméneutique; L’allégorie; Le texte scriptiblé; Polyphonie; le Post-modernisme
J. M. Coetzee’s unsettling portrayals of Elizabeth Costello = Os retratos vexatórios de J. M. Coetzee sobre Elizabeth Costello
Laura Giovannelli
Acta Scientiarum : Language and Culture , 2011,
Abstract: This paper addresses the vexed question of animal and human rights byfocusing on Coetzee’s ‘trilogy’ connected with Elizabeth Costello’s lecturing and experiencing, from her anti-Cartesian stances and sympathetic imagination advocated in The lives of animals, through the eight lessons which she frantically goes over and delivers like a ‘circus seal’, or even happens to be taught (in Elizabeth Costello), up to Slow man, where she turns into the waspish, vulpine ‘Costello woman’ preying on tortoise-like Paul Rayment. As such a debasing hybridization may already suggest, the committed intellectual shall lose track of her formerly heated debates on animals as ‘embodied souls’ and divinely created beings to be held in great respect, to enter a region of ethical ambivalence where biological and axiological boundaries are deviously blurred. Textual evidence andcommentaries on Coetzee’s fictional world and thematic concerns are provided to single out the stages of this unsettling metamorphosis, a process through which Costello wavers between Franciscan self-effacement and dictatorial omniscience. In the upshot, the striving after a recognition of animal dignity is seemingly supplanted by a debasement of the human person into a pet or a beast, as though she had lost herself in a labyrinth of fumbling speculation. O problema vexatório sobre os direitos dos animais e das pessoas é analisado pela trilogia de Coetzee, ou seja, a partir das conferências e das experiências de Elizabeth Costello, nas quais prop e sua posi o anticartesiana e sua imagina o simpatética defendida em The lives of animals, versando sobre as oito aulas que ela ministra como ‘uma foca circense’ ou até quando é tutelada (em Elizabeth Costello), até Slow man, onde se transforma na ‘fêmeaCostello’, uma loba que age como predadora junto ao lento Paul Rayment. Como a hibridiza o acima mencionada pode sugerir, o intelectual pode se esquecer dos debates animados sobre os animais como ‘almas com corpo’ e seres divinamente criadas, mantidas em grande estima, e enveredar por uma regi o de ambivalência ética onde as fronteiras biológicas e axiológicas s o eliminadas com grande finura. As evidências textuais e comentários sobre o mundo ficcional e temático de Coetzee s o investigados para indicar as fases desta metamorfose vexatória. Neste processo, Costello oscila entre a auto-aniquila o franciscana e a onisciência ditatorial. Parece que os esfor os para o reconhecimento da dignidade dos animais sejam suplantados por um rebaixamento da pessoa em animal de estima o ou em fera como se Costella tivesse
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