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Issue Details: First known date: 2018... 2018 Magda Meets Theodora : Language and Interiority in The Aunt’s Story and In The Heart of the Country
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'In ‘Orders of Discourse’ Foucault raises the deeply embedded opposition between reason and folly: ‘From the depths of the Middle Ages a man was mad if his speech could not be said to form part of the common discourse of men’. This discursive rule becomes magnified in the case of women and of the colonised. In Coetzee’s In the Heart of the Country and Patrick White’s The Aunt’s Story, Magda and Theodora demonstrate the precarious marginality of the colonial woman. They are doubly marginalised as colonial women, existing outside settler history, which is the narrative both of the masculine responsibilities of settlement and an attendant sense of displacement. In Coetzee’s novel, Magda plays out a version of The Tempest in which she is subjected both to the Law of the Father and to Caliban, while in The Aunt’s Story Theodora plots a determined path out of the discourse of men into the ambivalently liberating horizon of madness. The differences between the women say as much as the similarities, but both offer a compelling version of the layered marginalities of the female colonial subject. In the writers’ hands the place outside discourse, the peculiar language of the colonial women, becomes the potential location of counter discourse. This essay proposes that the women demonstrate a radical interiority, a capacity to inhabit the lives of others in a way that is considered madness but which enacts the utopian function of literature itself.' (Publication abstract)

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  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Australian Literary Studies Thematising Women in the Work of J. M. Coetzee vol. 33 no. 1 February 2018 12964671 2018 periodical issue

    'All but one of the essays in this special issue called ‘Thematising Women in the Work of J. M. Coetzee’ were first presented at the 'Reading Coetzee’s Women' conference convened by Prof. Sue Kossew and Dr Melinda Harvey at Monash University’s Prato Centre in Italy in September 2016. We gratefully acknowledge the support provided by the Faculty of Arts at Monash University that enabled the conference to take place. The topic of women in Coetzee’s writing is of ongoing interest and importance, and the essays in this special issue address it in different ways – although most, to some extent, ponder the intentions and effects of what Carrol Clarkson in her lead essay memorably dubs his narrative strategy of ‘womanizing’. One of the features of the conference was a translators’ panel where a number of Coetzee’s translators discussed their approaches to the challenges presented by his work, and this discussion is represented here by a standalone essay by Coetzee’s Italian translator, Franca Cavagnoli.' (Introduction)

Last amended 27 Feb 2018 08:36:34 Magda Meets Theodora : Language and Interiority in The Aunt’s Story and In The Heart of the Countrysmall AustLit logo Australian Literary Studies
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