The Grounds of Cynical Self-Doubt : J.M. Coetzee’s Boyhood, Youth and Summertime Issue Details: First known date: 2014... 2014
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'In this article, I argue that J.M. Coetzee’s autobiographical trilogy can be read as a set of texts in which the author responds to the problem of cynical self-doubt, as it is described in Coetzee’s writings on confession from the mid-1980s. Against Derek Attridge’s critical view of the relation between Coetzee’s autobiographies and these early writings, I argue that Coetzee’s texts do not passively abide by the author’s early scepticism, but rather inspect the grounds of cynical self-doubt and show its position to be intellectually confused. I specifically demonstrate that Coetzee’s texts present cynical self-doubt as an intellectualisation of akratic failure (weakness of will). The texts not only analyse the crisis from which cynical self-doubt emerges, but also try to look beyond a sceptical perspective. With this in mind, this article will read Coetzee’s autobiographies as writings that “aspire to a condition of gossip”. In this aspiration, the autobiographies point to an ethic of assent they themselves cannot yet fully inhabit.' (Author's abstract)

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Last amended 10 Mar 2014 14:50:16
94-112 The Grounds of Cynical Self-Doubt : J.M. Coetzee’s Boyhood, Youth and SummertimeAustLit Journal of Literary Studies
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