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“A Noble Profession”: The Figure of the Female Teacher in Coetzee’s Writing
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In a graduation ceremony speech delivered at WITS University in December 2012, J.M. Coetzee paid homage to the “backbone of the teaching profession;” the mothers and grandmothers who had turned him and other “unformed children” into “proper human beings.” In all its simplicity, this tribute invites a reflection on where and how these women might figure in the realm of Coetzee’s educational thought. For while Coetzee returns to matters of education and pedagogy again and again in his writing—the extended reflection on the politics of the classroom in A Good Story: Exchanges on Truth, Fiction and Psychotherapy being a recent example—this engagement seems largely concerned with the dynamics of resistance and following associated with cultural transmission and the burden of paternal authority. Exploring how notions of Bildung, authority and freedom resonate against the figure of the female teacher, this paper places Boyhood, Youth, Elizabeth Costello, Summertime and The Childhood of Jesus in dialogue with Coetzee’s non-fictional writing on education. It asks how the figure of the female teacher might disturb and shed light on the recurrent tensions between historical continuity and discontinuity, and between rational discourse and symbolic play, that feature so prominently in Coetzee’s oeuvre.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
English
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-169804OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-169804DiVA, id: diva2:1326100
Conference
Reading Coetzee’s Women, Melbourne, Australia, 27-29 September, 2016
Available from: 2019-06-17 Created: 2019-06-17 Last updated: 2019-06-18Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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Language
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
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Output format
  • html
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  • asciidoc
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