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Open SecretsLiterature, Education, and Authority from J-J. Rousseau to J. M. Coetzee$
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Michael Bell

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199208098

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199208098.001.0001

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The Novelist, the Lecturer, and the Limits of Persuasion: J. M. Coetzee and Elizabeth Costello on the Lives of Animals and Men

The Novelist, the Lecturer, and the Limits of Persuasion: J. M. Coetzee and Elizabeth Costello on the Lives of Animals and Men

Chapter:
(p.217) 8 The Novelist, the Lecturer, and the Limits of Persuasion: J. M. Coetzee and Elizabeth Costello on the Lives of Animals and Men
Source:
Open Secrets
Author(s):

Michael Bell (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199208098.003.0009

J. M. Coetzee is perhaps the author who most exemplifies at the turn of the century the nature of literary authority; a power and a predicament he has repeatedly thematised while refusing to translate the authority of his writing into its supposed political or ideological equivalents. This chapter is devoted mainly to a close reading of The Lives of Animals in its original form and context as one of the 1998 Tanner lectures at Princeton. Costello herself is far from being a simple mouthpiece for the author and her account of the novelist's sympathy is vulnerable as well as eloquent. Although it is often discussed, and not inappropriately, for its thematic contribution to public debate on the human relation to animals, the mutual embedding of formal lecture and fictional narrative gives the work a philosophical focus on the incommunicability of all radical conviction that falls outside conventional norms.

Keywords:   Coetzee, Costello, Lives of Animals, Tanner lectures

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