Issue Details: First known date: 2009 2009
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'While much of his critical work on J. M. Coetzee's writing is informed by a sophisticated understanding of Derridean hospitality, Derek Attridge has seldom used this term himself - the exception being his insightful reading of The Master of Petersburg ( J. M. Coetzee 122-24). In fact, very little criticism to date has examined Coetzee's use of the metaphor of hospitality in his writing. Focusing principally on Age of Iron, I briefly explore, in the first part of this essay, the incidence of this trope in this writer's earlier fiction. Thereafter, I trace his deployment of the language of hospitality in Slow Man, arguing that this metaphorical vocabulary inscribes a disjunction between the novel's medium and the kind of hospitality of which it attempts to speak. Coetzee's use of the trope of hospitality, I contend, in fact stages language's inability to achieve what this metaphor insists it must achieve. Although I do consider some of the points of intersection between his engagement with the idea of hospitality and that of thinkers such as Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida, my purpose is not to speculate on Coetzee's philosophical allegiances but to consider his understanding of the implications of the ethic of hospitality for the writing and reading of narrative fiction.'(273)

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Last amended 19 Jan 2010
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