J.M.Coetzee’s work is imbued with a preoccupation with individual freedom which is inextricable from a concern for ethical responsibility that often develops into fictional aporias, unfathomable conditions of uncompromising and crystallized resistance and isolation. This article examines a specific aspect of Coetzee’s concern with the issue of freedom by analyzing the role of the body in Slow Man (2005), which thematizes the image of the maimed body and the refusal of a prothesis as an ambivalently compensatory form of freedom: a freedom to renounce conceived as an acceptance of loss. The novel foregrounds the “body in pain” as an accidentally maimed body, and constructs the rejection of an artificial replacement in the terms of an obdurate vindication of freedom, conceived as the right to self-determination. This choice can be variously read as a troubled choice of loss, failure and surrender, but it also dovetails with earlier figurations of resisting and impaired bodies in Coetzee’s allegorical “postcolonial” novels such as Foe, Age of Iron and Waiting for the Barbarians. The theme of the disabled and prosthetic body as a site of power structure is also related, in more that one way, to the idea of hospitality, a key concept which intersects some of the most recurrent and important concerns of Coetzee’s oeuvre: the irreducibility of the other and the writer’s allegiance to it, the public role of the writer, the relationship between the literary text and history, the literary text and love, the writer and his text as a home for the other.

A limb of liberty: loss, disability and fictions of authenticity in J.M.Coetzee’s Slow Man

GEFTER WONDRICH, ROBERTA
2013

Abstract

J.M.Coetzee’s work is imbued with a preoccupation with individual freedom which is inextricable from a concern for ethical responsibility that often develops into fictional aporias, unfathomable conditions of uncompromising and crystallized resistance and isolation. This article examines a specific aspect of Coetzee’s concern with the issue of freedom by analyzing the role of the body in Slow Man (2005), which thematizes the image of the maimed body and the refusal of a prothesis as an ambivalently compensatory form of freedom: a freedom to renounce conceived as an acceptance of loss. The novel foregrounds the “body in pain” as an accidentally maimed body, and constructs the rejection of an artificial replacement in the terms of an obdurate vindication of freedom, conceived as the right to self-determination. This choice can be variously read as a troubled choice of loss, failure and surrender, but it also dovetails with earlier figurations of resisting and impaired bodies in Coetzee’s allegorical “postcolonial” novels such as Foe, Age of Iron and Waiting for the Barbarians. The theme of the disabled and prosthetic body as a site of power structure is also related, in more that one way, to the idea of hospitality, a key concept which intersects some of the most recurrent and important concerns of Coetzee’s oeuvre: the irreducibility of the other and the writer’s allegiance to it, the public role of the writer, the relationship between the literary text and history, the literary text and love, the writer and his text as a home for the other.
http://www.transpostcross.it/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=92:a-limb-of-liberty-loss-disability-and-fictions-of-authenticity-in-jmcoetzees-slow-man&catid=11:saggi&Itemid=10
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2706679
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