J.M. Coetzee’s novel, The Childhood of Jesus, makes use of postmodern pastiche: various literary themes are recycled as if on display in a “ literary theme park.” Coetzee also reuses themes he has explored in his previous works. Here a link can be made to Edward Said’s idea of late style, which includes an element of self-quotation. However, two issues are so important that Coetzee probes them further rather than recycles them. One is a conception of family based not on blood relations, but love. This is part of the other, more fundamental issue: the contingency of the world. By engaging with these subjects, The Childhood of Jesus embodies late style in Coetzee’s own sense of the term.


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pp. 72-88
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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