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    Sobriquet 44.13

    Monday, July 14, 2008
    Although I read two essays in the past two days, there isn't a whole lot for me to say. Chelva Kanaganayakam's "The Anxiety of Being Postcolonial: Ideology and The Contemporary Postcolonial Novel" only briefly addresses Disgrace in its discussion of current postcolonial literature. For Kanaganayakam, Coetzee's novel "is often misread" because it is written in "a nascent form that has not yet been adequately identified" (49). This new literary mode emerges out of the writer's desire to produce fiction "in situations that require political engagement without a clear bias" (48). Coetzee's attempt to confront this situation, Kanaganayakam asserts, results in a deceptively simple "character-driven novel that only intermittently touches upon the political scene" while "remind[ing] the reader that the concerns are larger than that of straightforward social realism" (48). This "ambivalence is a measure of the anxiety of the author and the predicament of the Afrikaaner in South Africa...the anxiety of realizing that the middle position is not tenable" (48-49).

    The second brief essay that I read, Gertrude B. Makhaya's "The Trouble With JM Coetzee," is less a critical examination of Disgrace than a contrast of the tumultuous critical and political responses to the novel upon its release with the more favorable treatment of the novel in the South African press following the author's 2003 Nobel Prize. While not a lode of critical insight, Makhaya's essay does provide interested readers with an accessible survey of the oft-mentioned South African response to the publication of Coetzee's controversial novel.

    For tomorrow: Read another essay.

    Works Cited

    Kanaganayakam, Chelva. "The Anxiety of Being Postcolonial: Ideology and the Contemporary Postcolonial Novel." Miscelanea: A Journal of English and American Studies 28 (2003): 43-54.

    Makhaya, Gertrude B. "The Trouble with JM Coetzee." The Oxonian Review of Books 4.2 (2005). Available online.

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