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J.M. Coetzee and the NovelWriting and Politics after Beckett$
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Patrick Hayes

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199587957

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587957.001.0001

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Writing and Politics After Beckett

Writing and Politics After Beckett

(p.33) 2 Writing and Politics After Beckett
J.M. Coetzee and the Novel

Patrick Hayes (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Coetzee's importance within the tradition of the novel lies in the way he has developed and extended the legacy of modernist writing in general, and Samuel Beckett's modernism in particular. This chapter shows that he engages with Beckett in a discerning and critical way, emphasizing the particular importance of Beckett's representation of nothingness and alterity in The Unnamable, and how this relates to a prose style that embraces folly and literary weakness. With reference to the early fiction, especially In the Heart of the Country and Waiting for the Barbarians, this chapter argues that Coetzee adapts Beckett's style to his attempt to rethink the way in which a more directly political kind of fiction might explore the problem of recognition.

Keywords:   modernist, modernism, Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable, alterity, nothingness, recognition, folly

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