This article argues that J. M. Coetzee’s novel Disgrace instantiates a posthumanist form of ethical thinking—an ethics that takes us beyond a humanist framework, making it possible to imagine the ethical subject as no longer exclusively human. It posits that Coetzee’s ethics, which is grounded in a Levinasian ethics of the Other that is extended to animals, depends on the text’s literary elements—specifically, on the intertextual relationship between Disgrace and Franz Kafka’s short story “In the Penal Colony.” The latter, this article argues, provides the model of “the disgrace” that Coetzee takes up and reimagines within his work.


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