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Home Consciousness in the Works of J.M. Coetzee

Dong, Liang (2018) Home Consciousness in the Works of J.M. Coetzee. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the literary representations of home consciousness in the works of J.M. Coetzee. Noting the historical and biographical origins of this concern in Coetzee’s authorship, I am interested primarily in how home consciousness plays out in his texts. Tracing Coetzee’s life through two recently published biographies, one written by J.C. Kannemeyer and the other by David Attwell, enables us to detect a sense of belonging and alienation in his way of addressing the issue of personal residence and national identification, which I refer to as a Janus-faced attitude to home. This striking feature in his authorship sheds light on the pervasive home consciousness in his fiction where characters wrestle with the tension of home, historically, culturally and ethically. I unpack my argument on this series of tensions in an eclectic approach. The introduction outlines the general theoretical foundation on which the thesis is premised, namely a frank account of authorship’s importance in criticism, especially in Coetzee’s case. After tracing Coetzee’s Janus-faced attitude to home in the opening chapter, the thesis primarily considers one novel for discussion in each successive chapter. Chapter Two centres on how “The Narrative of Jacobus Coetzee” becomes an ethical challenge for Coetzee to narrate home consciousness. The third chapter focuses on Coetzee’s hostile coexistence with censorship and how Magda from In the Heart of the Country grapples with home. My next chapter uses Freud’s “The Uncanny” to investigate unhomely authorship and uncanny narrative in Waiting for the Barbarians. Chapter five revolves around the metaphorical landscapes in Life & Times of Michael K. The following chapter conducts a feminist reading of home consciousness in Age of Iron and the last chapter addresses Lurie’s and Lucy’s alternatives to home in Disgrace from a postsecular perspective. In the epilogue to the thesis, I propose three trajectories in the development of home consciousness in Slow Man and The Childhood of Jesus.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > English and Related Literature (York)
Depositing User: Mr Liang Dong
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2019 13:27
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2019 13:27
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23811

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