Desires, failures, resistences: female figures in J.M. Coetzee's fiction

Giulia Zanfabro

Abstract


Desire is a constant presence in J.M. Coetzee's fiction. Coetzee's narrators unremittingly wonder about desire: the more their position is "authorial", the more these fictional characters' reflections on this issue are consciously bound to writing and narration.

The essay aims to isolate the topic of desire, linking it to the four Coetzee's female main characters: Magda (In the Heart of the Country), Susan Barton (Foe), Mrs Curren (Age of Iron) and Elizabeth Costello (Elizabeth Costello, As a Woman Grows Older, The Old Woman and the Cats, Slow Man). Coetzee's way of staging desire – specifically, these women's desires – make it possible to argue about the relations existing between desires – both physical and narrative – that the bodies of these women express; failure the fulfilment of these desires inevitably meets with; and resistances, only possible in the very acceptance of this failure. Desires fail to be fulfilled, and so do narrations, always forced to face other characters, other subjects – whose desires are not accessible –, silences, ellipsis, holes in narration. Crucial questions, then, concern access to writing, authorship, representation. 


Keywords


Coetzee; Desires; Narrations; Authorship; Representation

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/973

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-17412

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