Abstract

This essay investigates the processes of change in Disgrace as they are articulated through sexuality and related to the sociopolitical shifts underway in postapartheid South Africa. I argue that sexuality becomes a trope in the novel for wider historical changes: a way of engaging the complex social relations of the "new" South Africa and relating them to the conventional assumptions of the past. Through his protagonist Lurie, a literary scholar, Coetzee situates both sexual desire and social transformation in the epistemological framework of the Western intellectual tradition: the novel's many references to literary works and myth activate this framework. By examining sexuality specifically in the perspective of these allusions, I show that Coetzee's vision of change is inseparable from the unresolved destiny of Anglo-European traditions in South Africa, as well as from the ghosts of colonialism and the modes of knowledge and representation that it bequeathed.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2044
Print ISSN
0034-5210
Pages
pp. 22-39
Launched on MUSE
2005-10-24
Open Access
No
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