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Issue Details: First known date: 2018... 2018 Dialogical Numbers : Counting Humanimal Pain in J.M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello
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  • 'This essay argues that J.M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello stages numerical sequences strategically, dialogically, and parodically in order to call attention to the ideological weight involved in counting. Focusing on how one counts – and accounts for – human and nonhuman animal pain, I contend that the repetition of numbers in the novel works to subvert the neoliberal faith put in numbers, quantification, and data. Without succumbing to some religious-mystical numerology, this reading attempts to expose the fiction involved in the act of counting and the need to pay more attention to numerical discourse in literary fiction. In tracking these numbers throughout the novel, I draw upon the polyphonic features of the text, particularly to understand the relation of law to justice as mediated by numbers. The number three that is repeated throughout the novel invokes religious, political, and ethical traditions that work to interrogate and disrupt ubiquitous dualistic conceptions of reality. Ultimately, the essay articulates the value of counting as it relates to humanimal pain, to writing the narratively unthinkable, and to the possibility of living a good life amidst unspeakable suffering.' (Publication abstract)

  • Epigraph: ‘Everything will be counted: not a word, not a movement of the soul, not a half thought will be in vain.’ – Fyodor Dostoevsky, ‘At Tikhon’s’

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Transnational Literature vol. 11 no. 1 December 2018 15421639 2018 periodical issue

    'Welcome to the December issue of Transnational Literature. The opportunity to take the reins of such a wide-ranging journal from outgoing General Editor Gillian Dooley has been a great privilege. With the help of the journal’s excellent editorial team, I’ve enjoyed the challenge of bringing together the diverse writing of 45 authors from around the world, from Australia, Chile, Germany, India, Iran, Pakistan, Republic of Yemen, Singapore, Sweden, Syria, the US and the UK. From its original premise of ‘New Literatures in English’ in Syd Harrex’s CRNLE Reviews Journal, the journal has grown to consider literature from a ‘transnational’ framework. These days, Transnational Literature welcomes creative writing in translation, and the languages sit side by side, in intercultural conversation. Migrancy and diaspora, intergenerational identities, questions of belonging, border crossings, statelessness and territorialisation, the socio-political condition of people within and outside national borders: all are subjects examined in the journal as it reaches far and wide.' (Alison Flett, Letter from the Acting General Editor : Introduction)

Last amended 17 Jan 2019 08:35:08 Dialogical Numbers : Counting Humanimal Pain in J.M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costellosmall AustLit logo Transnational Literature
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