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    Sobriquet 43.6

    Friday, June 6, 2008
    After last night's epic effort, I will keep this entry on the short side. Despite the persistence of my screwed up sleep schedule, I didn't sleep in too late today and managed to review two essays dealing with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, Isidore Diala's "Nadine Gordimer, J. M. Coetzee, and Andre Brink: Guilt, Expiation, and the Reconciliation Process in Post-Apartheid South Africa" (which, annoyingly, was poorly photocopied and will have to be replaced) and Jacqueline Rose's "Apathy and Accountability: South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Comission." Neither article devotes more than a few pages to Disgrace, but I found both to be extremely readable and, especially in the case of Diala's essay, quite quotable (a trait any beleaguered dissertation-writer will love).

    Diala's reading of Disgrace is consistent with much of the critical literature surrounding the novel:

    Coetzee's black characters are perhaps too deprived, brutalized, and aggrieved to inspire hopes of racial harmony. Coetzee hardly seems to be under any delusions of the immediate possibility of reconciliation so soon after apartheid. (68)

    ...if Lucy's mode of engagement with history is Coetzee's valid paradigm for whites' negotiation for a precarious foothold in post-apatheid South Africa, then his conception of their fall from grace evokes near absolute depravity. (60)

    After a lengthy discussion of the TRC, Rose shares a reading of the novel "as Coetzee's response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission" (191).

    While neither essay explores the novel in depth, I would say that they are both extremely good starting points for anyone interested in one of the more popular (and plausible) interpretations of Disgrace.

    For tomorrow: Read another article or, if I'd prefer, transcribe notes or work on my bibliography.

    Works Cited

    Diala, Isadore. "Nadine Gordimer, J.M. Coetzee, and Andre Brink: Guilt, Expiation, and the Reconciliation Process in Post-Apartheid South Africa." Journal of Modern Literature 25.2 (2001-2002): 50-68.

    Rose, Jacqueline. "Apathy and Accountability: South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission." Raritan 21.4 (2002): 175-95.

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