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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Reading ethics in J. M. Coetzee's 'Elizabeth Costello': the globalizing world, the normal and damnation
Author:Yeoh, GilbertISNI
Year:2008
Periodical:The English Academy Review
Volume:25
Issue:1
Pages:77-88
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:novels
globalization
ethics
About person:John Michael Coetzee (1940-)ISNI
Link:https://doi.org/10.1080/10131750802099508
Abstract:This article argues that J. M. Coetzee's 'Elizabeth Costello' (2003) seeks to engage with the condition of a globalizing world in the twenty-first century. Specifically, Coetzee's narrative attempts to posit the question of ethics with regard to a globalizing world. The text first suggests that the globalizing world is associated with an all-pervasive culture associated with the idea of the 'normal'. This culture of the 'normal' dissipates the genuine concern with ethics with the upshot that the question of ethics vanishes altogether. Nevertheless, even as 'Elizabeth Costello' depicts this dissipation of ethics, it also continues to evoke the spectre of ethics within the very realm of the 'normal'. Specifically, it evokes a spectre of the ethical condition of damnation within the site of the 'normal.' It is through this persisting vision of damnation inscribed upon the overwhelmingly 'normal' that one continues to apprehend and, indeed, 'read' the ethics of Elizabeth Costello. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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