Issue Details: First known date: 2011 2011
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'In J. M. Coetzee's 2003 book Elizabeth Costello, the title character's son watches as she gives a painful radio interview, and thinks: 'A writer, not a thinker. Writers and thinkers: chalk and cheese. No, not chalk and cheese: fish and fowl. But which is she, the fish or the fowl? Which is her medium: water or air?' Coetzee's Costello books challenge the common divide between writing and thinking and raise various questions around the traditional elevation of reason above embodiment in contemporary scholarship. This paper takes the 'late style' of J. M. Coetzee's 2003 book Elizabeth Costello and 2005 book Slow Man and uses them as a lens through which to reread his previous books, both novels and criticism, while exploring Coetzee's preoccupation with the act of writing and the position of the writer. It also addresses the ethical questions surrounding fictional embodiment: Why embody another? what good does it do? could it, in fact, do harm? and in what terms are we to describe the relationship between author and character? In this paper I posit the language of analogy and metaphor, of figures of speech, as neither 'human weaknesses,' as philosophers like Thomas Nagel and Peter Singer may see them, nor as 'contagions,' but as sites of clarification, equivalent in many ways to the uneasy ethical lines between writer and written.' (Author's abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y New Scholar vol. 1 no. 1 1 September 2011 Z1805193 2011 periodical issue 2011 pg. 57-68

Works about this Work

Rewriting Australian Literature Nicholas Jose , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Teaching Australian Literature : From Classroom Conversations to National Imaginings 2011; (p. 95-107)
'There are those of us who are trying to rethink the place of Australian literature in our lives, as readers and writers, students and teachers, and as participants in this society and culture. It's happening from different angles: in the academy, in literary studies, cultural studies, and Australian studies, including Australian history, at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and in research frameworks; in secondary and primary education, locally and nationally; and in the public domain. It's also happening internationally, through translation, and in the many different spaces where Australian literature might have meaning. Meaning, of course, is a first question and the meanings of both 'Australian' and 'literature' are fluid and routinely contested. Coupling the terms only increased the questioning, raising the stakes to beg the question of whether it is meaningful or necessary to talk about Australian literature at all. What is it? Does it exist? Does it matter anymore, or any differently from any other kind of literature, simply because we happen to be in Australia? Does it have a privileged claim on our attention, or, if it does, is that suspect? Each part of the coupling comes with hefty baggage. 'Australian' brings the national, the nation and the nationalistic, identity and belonging, history and culture, citizenship and inclusion/exclusion. 'Literature' brings not only the literary, but also language, and literacy, questions of reading and writing, and teaching and learning in relation to reading and writing. In particular it brings, for my purposes here, those approaches and practices known as 'creative writing' that in recent decades have entered subject English and more broadly the business of how literature is made is made in our society. 'Creative writing' is an infelicitous term, perhaps, but one we're stuck with, understood as something with many manifestations, widespread popularity and its own complex institutional history. Discussion of these things - creative writing and Australian literature in the curricular context - joins with larger debates about our education and contemporary culture that tend, paradoxically, to adopt a rhetoric of embattlement while taking for granted the importance of both related fields. It is surprising that, in a neoliberal, technocratic, metric-managed world, reading, writing and creativity should retain such power and loom so large.' (Author's abstract)
Rewriting Australian Literature Nicholas Jose , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Teaching Australian Literature : From Classroom Conversations to National Imaginings 2011; (p. 95-107)
'There are those of us who are trying to rethink the place of Australian literature in our lives, as readers and writers, students and teachers, and as participants in this society and culture. It's happening from different angles: in the academy, in literary studies, cultural studies, and Australian studies, including Australian history, at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and in research frameworks; in secondary and primary education, locally and nationally; and in the public domain. It's also happening internationally, through translation, and in the many different spaces where Australian literature might have meaning. Meaning, of course, is a first question and the meanings of both 'Australian' and 'literature' are fluid and routinely contested. Coupling the terms only increased the questioning, raising the stakes to beg the question of whether it is meaningful or necessary to talk about Australian literature at all. What is it? Does it exist? Does it matter anymore, or any differently from any other kind of literature, simply because we happen to be in Australia? Does it have a privileged claim on our attention, or, if it does, is that suspect? Each part of the coupling comes with hefty baggage. 'Australian' brings the national, the nation and the nationalistic, identity and belonging, history and culture, citizenship and inclusion/exclusion. 'Literature' brings not only the literary, but also language, and literacy, questions of reading and writing, and teaching and learning in relation to reading and writing. In particular it brings, for my purposes here, those approaches and practices known as 'creative writing' that in recent decades have entered subject English and more broadly the business of how literature is made is made in our society. 'Creative writing' is an infelicitous term, perhaps, but one we're stuck with, understood as something with many manifestations, widespread popularity and its own complex institutional history. Discussion of these things - creative writing and Australian literature in the curricular context - joins with larger debates about our education and contemporary culture that tend, paradoxically, to adopt a rhetoric of embattlement while taking for granted the importance of both related fields. It is surprising that, in a neoliberal, technocratic, metric-managed world, reading, writing and creativity should retain such power and loom so large.' (Author's abstract)
Last amended 12 Sep 2011 09:51:36
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