n English in Africa - Elizabeth Costello as a Socratic figure
|Article Title||Elizabeth Costello as a Socratic figure|
|© Publisher:||Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA)|
|Journal||English in Africa|
|Author||Richard Alan Northover|
|Publication Date||May 2012|
|Pages||37 - 55|
The figure of Elizabeth Costello, Coetzee's fictional persona, has proven to be very controversial. Reviewers and critics of The Lives of Animals, Elizabeth Costello and Slow Man, and even characters within those works, have described her as irrational and confused, even mad. Both her audience in The Lives of Animals and reviewers of this work have found her attack on reason to be excessive and her Holocaust analogy offensive. Abraham Stern, a character in The Lives of Animals, an ageing Jewish poet and academic, is so offended that he withdraws in protest from the dinner in Costello's honour. Reviewers and critics like Douglas Cruikshank have considered her case for the sympathetic imagination to be inconclusive or unconvincing, with Cruikshank describing her as someone "who comes off as something of a pill, a piece of work, a monopolizer of oxygen and presumably no treat as a mother-in-law."
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