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Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 Pathos of the Future : Writing and Hospitality in Coetzee's The Childhood of Jesus
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'If Coetzee's first novels examined the wounds left by colonial and post-colonial times in South Africa and speak, more often than not, by letting them bleed more openly, the recent novels have focused on new and broader topics. The texts of the recent decade have opened another field, either by launching a sort of 'auto-fiction in which one cannot distinguish between 'real' memories and invented stories, or by creating a new novelistic space to explore. This is the case in The Childhood of Jesus, since the first thing that strikes any reader is that we have to follow the engrossing adventures of Simon and David by adapting, as they do, to a world in which all the rules are new. They look like refugees from another continent, probably devastated by a war or a catastrophe, moving to Novilla, a city designed for immigrants leaving behind their former lives. However, in this new setting, The Childhood of Jesus manages to repeat and invert the main plot of The Master of Petersburg. Both novels are connected by the topos of a father who comes to terms with paternity by facing a son who is not really his son. ' (Introduction)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon J. M. Coetzee's The Childhood of Jesus : The Ethics of Ideas and Things Jennifer Rutherford (editor), Anthony Uhlmann (editor), New York (City) : Bloomsbury , 2017 11790181 2017 anthology criticism

    'Since the controversy and acclaim that surrounded the publication of Disgrace (1999), the awarding of the Nobel Prize for literature and the publication of Elizabeth Costello: Eight Lessons (both in 2003), J. M. Coetzee's status has begun to steadily rise to the point where he has now outgrown the specialized domain of South African literature. Today he is recognized more simply as one of the most important writers in the English language from the late 20th and early 21st century. Coetzee's productivity and invention has not slowed with old age. The Childhood of Jesus, published in 2013, like Elizabeth Costello, was met with a puzzled reception, as critics struggled to come to terms with its odd setting and structure, its seemingly flat tone, and the strange affectless interactions of its characters. Most puzzling was the central character, David, linked by the title to an idea of Jesus. J.M. Coetzee's The Childhood of Jesus: The Ethics of Ideas and Things is at the forefront of an exciting process of critical engagement with this novel, which has begun to uncover its rich dialogue with philosophy, theology, mathematics, politics, and questions of meaning.' (Publication summary)

    New York (City) : Bloomsbury , 2017
    pg. 33-58
Last amended 7 Sep 2017 11:04:05
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