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n Journal of Literary Studies - J.M. Coetzee's : the meaning of suffering

 

Abstract

With strong reference to the theoretical work of Gilles Deleuze, Antonin Artaud, and Friedrich Nietzsche, this article aims to understand J.M. Coetzee's <I>Dusklands</I> ([1974]1998) as a novel of relations. From the reader's initial difficulty in trying to reconcile the seemingly divergent constitutive narratives to its exploration of the (failed) relationships between subject and object, Self and Other, and the corporeality of the body and the incorporeality of the mind, &lt;I&gt;Dusklands&lt;/I&gt; demands that the reader pay close attention to the sets of associations and connections that it establishes. And it is in this context that this article argues that &lt;I&gt;Dusklands&lt;/I&gt; presents the narratives of two men who begin to experience the failure of such fundamental relationships: as they begin to uncontrollably oscillate between the ontological states of the known-subject and the incomprehensible-Other. Under such conditions, an analysis of the relationship between the body and the "event" of pain that circulates upon it reveals that this complex state of affairs is highly detrimental to the integrity of the philosophical principles of the Enlightenment that underscored the structural imperatives of European colonial discourse. Indeed, it seems certain that without the guarantee of a conceptual Other with which to construct world reality, the claim to "truth" maintained by scientific rationality begins to stutter.

Hierdie artikel beoog om J.M. Coetzee se &lt;I&gt;Dusklands&lt;/I&gt; ([1974]1998) te verstaan as 'n roman van relasies. Dit steun sterk op verwysings na die teoretiese werk van Gilles Deleuze, Antonin Artaud en Friedrich Nietzsche. Van die probleme wat die leser aanvanklik ondervind om die oënskynlik uiteenlopende samestellende (konstitutiewe) narratiewe te versoen, tot by sy verkenning van die (mislukte) verhoudings tussen subjek en objek, Self en Ander, die lyflikheid van die liggaam en die onlyflikheid van die gees, eis &lt;I&gt;Dusklands&lt;/I&gt; van die leser om noukeurig aandag te gee aan die stelle assosiasies en verbintenisse wat gestig word. Binne hierdie konteks word in hierdie artikel aangevoer dat &lt;I&gt;Dusklands&lt;/I&gt; die narratiewe aanbied van twee mans wat die ontoereikendheid van sulke fundamentele relasies begin beleef terwyl hulle onbeheerbaar begin ossileer tussen twee ontologiese state: dié van die kenbare/bekende-subjek en die onkenbare-Ander. In sulke omstandighede bring 'n ontleding van die verhouding tussen die liggaam en die "gebeurtenis" van pyn wat daarin/daarop sirkuleer aan die lig dat hierdie komplekse gegewe uiters nadelig inwerk op die integriteit van die filosofiese beginsels van die Verligting wat die strukturele imperatiewe van die Europese koloniale diskoers versterk het. Dit lyk inderdaad asof dit onafwendbaar is dat die aanspraak op "waarheid" wat deur wetenskaplike rasionaliteit in stand gehou word, sal begin verkrummel indien daar geen waarborg is van 'n konseptuele Ander waarmee 'n wêreldwerklikheid gekonstrueer kan word nie.

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/content/litstud/21/3_4/EJC62395
2005-12-01
2016-12-04
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