CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
J.M. Coetzee's Poetics of the Child
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation explores how central tensions in J.M. Coetzee’s fiction converge in and are made visible by the child figure. Its central claim is that the child draws attention to how Coetzee’s poetics is characterized by a constant interplay between responsibility to the other—within and beyond history—on the one hand, and irresponsibility, indeterminacy and play on the other. Key to this argument is Giorgio Agamben’s emancipatory thinking on infancy, or the experience of the impotentiality of language, which can be understood as the capacity to hold thought in suspense. This complements productively those strands of existing Coetzee scholarship that, drawing on Blanchot, Levinas, and Derrida, find in Coetzee’s writing—and in responses to that writing—an ethics of hospitality to an alterity that is always yet to emerge. After an overview of interrelated conceptions and evocations of the child figure in theology, philosophy and literature, the study is organized around five central dynamics of a “poetics of the child” in Coetzee: The first chapter presents the child’s navigation between fictions of the self and of the world in a quest for authenticity as a compelling figure for Coetzee’s writing of fiction in the search for a never available truth of self. The second chapter argues that fictional encounters with “other” child figures within history are ethical in their destabilization of boundaries between self and other and in their foregrounding of ironic remainders made visible through different constructions of the child. In dialogue with Hannah Arendt’s thinking on natality, amor mundi and education, the third chapter shows that the child calls attention to how Coetzee’s working through of the uncertainties of new beginnings is closely linked to a care for the world. Finally, the fourth and fifth chapters engage with how Coetzee’s latest works gesture towards infancy and perpetual study, and, relatedly, towards the redemptive potential of a nonposition beyond the taxonomies of Western metaphysics. Ultimately, the thesis hopes to demonstrate the critical possibilities in thinking about—and with—childlike openness and childish experimentation when approaching the writing and reading of the work of J.M. Coetzee.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of English, Stockholm University , 2019. , p. 156
Keywords [en]
J.M. Coetzee, poetics, Agamben, Arendt, child, childhood, truth, innocence, ethics, natality, education, pedagogy, play, infancy, impotentiality
National Category
Specific Literatures General Literature Studies
Research subject
English
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-162237ISBN: 978-91-7797-424-6 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7797-425-3 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-162237DiVA, id: diva2:1266502
Public defence
2019-01-18, hörsal 11, hus F, Universitetsvägen 10 F, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-12-19 Created: 2018-11-28 Last updated: 2019-05-21Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text in DiVA

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Elmgren, Charlotta
By organisation
Department of English
Specific LiteraturesGeneral Literature Studies

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

isbn
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

isbn
urn-nbn
Total: 465 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf