n English in Africa - Gone for good - Coetzee's

Volume 36, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



This reading of J. M. Coetzee's aims to transform the novel to sociological and cultural statement. In what follows I argue that the novel was intended as social commentary, but that local and international critics, particularly South Africans who have left the country, find it difficult to accept this; that the text echoes the plots of earlier South African novels which present a highly pessimistic reading of inter-racial sexuality; that Coetzee, in his presentation of violent crime in South Africa, becomes what Jeffrey Alexander in his works on cultural trauma calls a 'carrier' of trauma; and that Coetzee's stance, which I characterise as liberal Afro-pessimism, limits his treatment of key themes in ways which date the novel.

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