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n Journal of Literary Studies - Disgraceful metafiction : intertextuality in the postcolony

 

Abstract

My aim in this paper is to examine J.M. Coetzee's use of intertextuality in <I>Disgrace</I> (2002a), partly because many commentators have said something about some of the intertexts utilised in the novel, but nobody has made an attempt at a thoroughgoing analysis, particularly in terms of what intertextuality, or indeed postmodernism, means in postcolonialism today. I want to make the claim against those who see &lt;I&gt;Disgrace&lt;/I&gt; as primarily a realist text that merely provides an avenue into discussing sociological issues in "the new South Africa" and that to read it in this way is to do a disservice to the novel, to Coetzee's views on the value of literature and the imagination, and perhaps even to the relationship between literature and the nation. &lt;I&gt;Disgrace&lt;/I&gt; is an ostensibly realist text that consists of a chain of provocations tempting the reader into realist interpretations, but a more careful reading of the novel shows how intertextual it is, and how subtle its analysis of cultural history is. This metafictional component then asks the question that Coetzee has been grappling with in his entire oeuvre, which is the question of the valency of complexity within sociohistorical contexts that tend to reduce complexity, sometimes to the extent of viewing it as an indulgence or even dangerous distraction within the new nation.

My doel met hierdie artikel is om J.M. Coetzee se gebruik van intertekstualiteit in &lt;I&gt;Disgrace&lt;/I&gt; te ondersoek. My rede hiervoor is deels dat, hoewel baie kommentators al melding gemaak het van sommige van die intertekste wat in die roman gebruik word, niemand nog 'n poging aangewend het om dit indringend te ondersoek nie - veral nie ten opsigte van die rol wat intertekstualiteit of trouens postmodernisme in postkolonialisme speel nie. Teenoor diegene wat &lt;I&gt;Disgrace&lt;/I&gt; beskou as primêr 'n realistiese teks wat bloot 'n kanaal vir die bespreking van sosiologiese kwessies in "die nuwe Suid-Afrika" bied, wil ek die aanspraak maak dat so 'n beskouing die roman self, Coetzee se beskouing van die waarde van literatuur en die verbeelding, en moontlik selfs die verhouding tussen literatuur en die nasie, 'n onguns bewys. &lt;I&gt;Disgrace&lt;/I&gt; is 'n oënskynlik realistiese teks wat bestaan uit 'n reeks provokasies wat die leser in die versoeking bring om dit op realistiese wyse te vertolk. 'n Deurtastender lees van die roman toon egter hoe intertekstueel dit is, en hoe subtiel Coetzee se ontleding van kultuurgeskiedenis is. Hierdie metafiksionele komponent ontlok dan die vraag waarmee Coetzee sy hele oeuvre deur worstel, naamlik dié aangaande die valensie van kompleksiteit in sosiohistoriese kontekste wat geneig is om kompleksiteit te verminder, soms dermate dat dit in die nuwe nasie as 'n verwenning of selfs 'n gevaarlike afleiding beskou word.

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/content/litstud/21/3_4/EJC62394
2005-12-01
2016-12-04
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