Chapter

Writing and Politics After Beckett

Patrick Hayes

in J.M. Coetzee and the Novel

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199587957
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723292 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587957.003.0003

Series: Oxford English Monographs

Writing and Politics After Beckett

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Coetzee's importance within the tradition of the novel lies in the way he has developed and extended the legacy of modernist writing in general, and Samuel Beckett's modernism in particular. This chapter shows that he engages with Beckett in a discerning and critical way, emphasizing the particular importance of Beckett's representation of nothingness and alterity in The Unnamable, and how this relates to a prose style that embraces folly and literary weakness. With reference to the early fiction, especially In the Heart of the Country and Waiting for the Barbarians, this chapter argues that Coetzee adapts Beckett's style to his attempt to rethink the way in which a more directly political kind of fiction might explore the problem of recognition.

Keywords: modernist; modernism; Samuel Beckett; The Unnamable; alterity; nothingness; recognition; folly

Chapter.  14887 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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