n English in Africa - "The Country of His Heart" : J. M. Coetzee, Wordsworth and the Karoo Farm
|Article Title||"The Country of His Heart" : J. M. Coetzee, Wordsworth and the Karoo Farm|
|© Publisher:||Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA)|
|Journal||English in Africa|
|Publication Date||Sep 2015|
|Pages||7 - 24|
Much of the critical activity surrounding J. M. Coetzee's work focuses on its metafictional complexity, with particular attention being paid to the ethical significance of his methods of authorial self-negation. This article departs from the critical norm by focusing instead on what may be called the persistence of an authorial presence in Coetzee's writing. It is a persistence that can be traced in Coetzee's writing about the Karoo farm, and that draws much of its impetus from Romantic gestures of identification with (and self-identification within) the natural environment. I trace the development of such a form of identification in the work of William Wordsworth, before considering its afterlife in Coetzee's autobiographical fiction (Boyhood, Youth and Summertime). Coetzee's writing, I argue, brings a new impetus to our understanding of the Romantic ideal of finding a form of integral being through communion with the natural landscape, by situating that ideal in a textual paradigm that is strongly marked by an awareness of its cultural contingency.
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