Genre and Countergenre: <i>Age of Iron</i>, <i>Pamela</i>, and <i>Don Quixote</i>

Patrick Hayes

in J.M. Coetzee and the Novel

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199587957
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723292 | DOI:

Series: Oxford English Monographs

Genre and Countergenre: Age of Iron, Pamela, and Don Quixote

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This chapter argues that the sheer inventiveness of Coetzee's exploration of the relationship between an ‘ethics of alterity’ and the situation of South African politics has been misunderstood due to an excessive emphasis on the moral stature of particular characters. It argues instead for the importance of a special form of comic experience in Coetzee's writing that he has referred to, quoting Joyce, as the ‘jocoserious’ – the model for which in Age of Iron is Cervantes' Don Quixote. It shows that Coetzee uses a jocoserious style to explore how, and on what terms, the novelistic tradition of sentiment and sensibility—a tradition that originates in Samuel Richardson's epistolary fiction—might continue to have a claim on the powerful rhetoric of difference that dominated late apartheid‐era politics in South Africa.

Keywords: ethics of alterity; apartheid; South African politics; sensibility; sentiment; Joyce; jocoserious; Samuel Richardson; epistolary; Cervantes; Don Quixote

Chapter.  13080 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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