Abstract

Through a reading of J. M. Coetzee's novel Disgrace this paper discusses the contemporary genre of reading literature in terms of an "ethics of perception." In the fourteen years since its publication the novel has elicited a rich body of commentary and criticism with an ethical edge, often focusing on the unfolding vision or stunted but developing perceptiveness of its uneasy protagonist David Lurie. This path of criticism is paradigmatic of a broader interest in studying literary works as paths to moral philosophical illumination. I discuss how the novel yields to this kind of reading, but also how this path of reading is complicated by its various other features, above all, a plurality of values that may be hard to reconcile and a Christian perspective of grace which is played against the novels secular, intellectual perspective on perceptiveness. I argue that reading Disgrace in terms of any pre-given ethical formula, however compelling, may be problematic considering the nature of Coetzee's authorship.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1936-9247
Print ISSN
1565-3668
Pages
pp. 233-255
Launched on MUSE
2013-06-07
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.