Issue Details: First known date: 2016... 2016 The 'Burnt Offerings' : Confession and Sacrifice in J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace
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'Following Alyda Faber’s terminology in her 2005 essay on the novel, I argue that Coetzee works out, in Disgrace , a ‘post-secular’ ethics. My reading of this ‘post-secular’ ethics, however, differs substantially from Faber’s. For me, the novel is grounded in a profound awe in the face of the world, other creatures and the body, an awe in the face of what we might call ‘the real’, ‘being’ or even ‘the Incarnation’. The world, ‘the real’, ‘the Incarnation’, is associated, in the text, with a kind of earthly grace and even with a Christ figure but is distanced from any kind of transcendent divinity. It is everything there is, and yet is largely inaccessible to intellection. This vision of the world is not a Christian one in any orthodox sense, but it is not a secular vision either and certainly not a humanist one. It is a vision in which the world, our earthly world, with its human beings and, as another Coetzee character, Elizabeth Costello reminds us, frogs, is itself a terrible mystery too vast for human minds to grasp. 3 In this article I formulate an understanding of this vision of ‘the world’ or of ‘being’ by tracing Coetzee’s use of the tropes of confession and sacrifice in his novel. Through David Lurie’s perspective, Coetzee grapples with these concepts both in their original religious mean- ings and in their translated secular versions, but in Lucy’s character, he man- ages to suggest a movement out the other side into ‘post-secular’ possibilities.' (Abstract)


  • Includes bibliography

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Last amended 1 Aug 2016 10:25:14
82-98 The 'Burnt Offerings' : Confession and Sacrifice in J.M. Coetzee's DisgraceAustLit Literature and Theology
  • Disgrace J. M. Coetzee 1999 single work novel
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