‘An author I have not read’: Foe, Crime and Punishment, and the Problem of the Novel
In the context of a late twentieth‐century politics of race and gender—a politics often suspicious of the liberal ideal of equal dignity—what is the value of the realist novel? What kinds of moral and political thinking are bound up in the very form of this distinctively modern literary genre, and what claim should they have upon us today? This chapter shows that while Coetzee's Foe reflects on the origins of the form of the novel by way of its allusions to Defoe, its exploration of these more complex questions is indebted to Dostoevsky's seminal exploration of novelistic form in Crime and Punishment.
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