Journal Article

Staging John Coetzee/Elizabeth Costello

Heather Walton

in Literature and Theology

Volume 22, issue 3, pages 280-294
Published in print September 2008 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online September 2008 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI:
Staging John Coetzee/Elizabeth Costello

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This article reflects upon the persona of Elizabeth Costello as performed by John Coetzee in public lectures, articles and the novels Elizabeth Costello and Slow Man. The intimate association between the author and this female character has been the subject of much controversy and the article details the criticisms levelled against Coetzee for his repeated ‘stagings’ of Elizabeth Costello. Whilst there are many political issues raised when a man writes and speaks as a woman, I argue that in the case of Elizabeth Costello this device facilitates a penetrating display of the responsibilities and inevitable failings of writing to be presented. This moves beyond discussions of the ethics of authorship to a religious appreciation of the authorial process.

Journal Article.  6553 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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