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    Sobriquet 45.17

    Saturday, August 23, 2008
    This post is a continuation of Sobriquet 45.16.

    The remainder of my reading consisted of relatively brief articles and reviews. In "J. M. Coetzee's Cultural Critique," Harald Leusmann provides a reading of the novel that would likely fit under the umbrage of what Marais terms an "orthodox response," viewing the novel as a reflection of "the collective mood of present-day South Africa's white population at the end of the dark twentieth century" (60). As is common with such readings, Leusmann regards Lurie's development over the course of the novel as a journey of self-discovery in which the protagonist eventually realizes that loving the other is more rewarding than the brand of self-love with which he begins the book. In Sarah Lyall's brief article on Coetzee's second Booker Prize, the critic briefly reviews the same ground as Leusmann. David Attwell, in his excellent review of Disgrace, the critic delivers what amounts to one of the most definitive readings of the novel, emphasizing many of the issues Leusmann and Lyall consider as well as highlighting (among other things) the linguistic, sexual, and historical ideas so many later critics have elaborated on. As is the case with much of Attwell's work, "Coetzee and Post-Apartheid South Africa" is required reading for any student of Coetzee. Sarah Ruden's brief review of Coetzee's novel, while short, draws attention to the spiritual aspect of the novel several later critics discuss at greater length when she notes that the "novel brings to mind the theology of kenosis, the self-emptying necessary for spiritual growth." In "After the Fall," Michael Gorra praises Coetzee for his brave willingness to depict "an almost unrelieved series of grim moments" and, presciently, implies that the novel will likely bring the author the Nobel he would eventually win in 2003.

    For tomorrow: Read another article.

    Works Cited

    Attwell, David. "Coetzee and Post-Apartheid South Africa." Rev. of Disgrace, by J. M. Coetzee. Journal of Southern African Studies 27.4 (2001): 865-867.

    Gorra, Michael. "After the Fall." Rev. of Disgrace, by J. M. Coetzee. New York Times 28 Nov. 1999: BR7+.

    Leusmann, Harald. "J. M. Coetzee's Cultural Critique." World Literature Today 78.3 (2004): 60-63.

    Lyall, Sarah. "J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace Wins Booker Prize." New York Times 26 Oct. 1999. Available online.

    Ruden, Sarah. Rev. of Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee. Christian Century 16 Aug. 2000. Available online.

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