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n Journal of Literary Studies - Bewaarder van die stilte : gedagtes oor J.M. Coetzee se etiek van skryf

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Abstract

In two of J.M. Coetzee's early works, <i>Life & Times of Michael K&lt;/i&gt; ([1983]1987a) and Foe ([1986]1987b), two voiceless, unessentialised figures are portrayed. These figures are not only manifestations of the Other, but also idiot-figures, ignorant consciousnesses with a restricted language ability - radical outsiders. This article is a study of how Coetzee portrays these subjectivities in an ethical way in his writings. Firstly it is argued that the construction of a centralised subjectivity is a technique of subjection of the modern State. The article then shows how the two characters escape the processes of interpretation of the power structures. Furthermore it analyses how as an effect of Coetzee's ambiguous style it appears as if the characters also escape the attempts of the narrator to interpret them or give them a voice. It will become clear that reader engagement is effected despite the detached way in which the characters are portrayed. This is exactly because their irreducible being cannot be essentialised by the text. In the end the article argues for an ethical position where the equation of the narrator's voice with that of the Other is relinquished, so that the texts are portrayals and linguistic expressions of a refusal to speak on behalf of an unknown and unknowable subjectivity.

In J.M. Coetzee se vroeëre werke, <i>Life & Times of Michael K&lt;/i&gt; ([1983]1987a) en Foe ([1986]1987b), word twee stemlose, onessensialiseerbare figure uitgebeeld. Hierdie figure is nie alleen manifestasies van die Ander nie, maar ook idiotefigure, onkundige bewussyne met 'n beperkte taalvermoë - radikale buitestaanders. Hierdie artikel is 'n ondersoek na hoe Coetzee hierdie subjektiwiteite op 'n etiese wyse uitbeeld in sy skryfwerk. Daar word in die eerste plek aangevoer dat die konstruksie van 'n gesentraliseerde subjektiwiteit 'n onderwerpingstegniek van die moderne Staat is. Die artikel wys dan hoe die twee karakters die interpretasieprosesse van die magstrukture ontsnap en hoe Coetzee se meersinnige vertelstyl dit ook laat blyk dat die karakters die pogings tot stemgewing en interpretasie van die verteller in die tekste ontsnap. Dit sal duidelik word dat die leser geaffekteerd bly ondanks die afstandelikheid waarmee die karakters uitgebeeld word, juis omdat die waarde van hul onessensialiseerbare bestaanswyse in die tekste verwerklik word. Uiteindelik sal die artikel poneer dat die etiese verantwoordelikheid van die skrywer daarin lê om nie die vertellerstem gelyk te wil stel aan die stem van die Ander nie, maar dat die tekste talige uitbeeldings is van 'n weiering om te praat namens 'n onbekende en onkenbare subjektiwiteit.

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/content/litstud/22/1_2/EJC62404
2006-06-01
2016-12-09
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