Ventriloquism and idleness in J. M. Coetzee’s Life & times of Michael K

Adelman, Richard (2016) Ventriloquism and idleness in J. M. Coetzee’s Life & times of Michael K. Textual Practice, 30 (4). pp. 599-619. ISSN 0950-236X

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This essay is concerned with the resonances of idleness and repose in Coetzee's Life & Times of Michael K. It brings two contexts to bear on the novel. The first of these is the European settling of South Africa's Cape peninsula as it is described in the first essay in Coetzee's White Writing, on ‘Idleness in South Africa’. The second is Samuel Taylor Coleridge's ‘Eolian Harp’, a poem alluded to by Coetzee in the ‘Idleness’ essay as well as in Youth, his second semi-fictional autobiography. The essay argues that acts of ventriloquism and what Coetzee calls ‘the scandal of idleness’ are central to Michael K’s politics, and that a correct consideration of these issues exposes a dark side to the novel that has not been observed by its criticism to date.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > English
Subjects: P Language and Literature
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary history
Depositing User: Richard Adelman
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2016 10:58
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2023 15:00

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