Displaced romanticism: searching for the self in J.M.Coetzee's autobiographical fiction

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Clarkson, Carrol en_ZA
dc.contributor.advisor Anderson, Peter en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Smuts, Eckard en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2014-11-11T06:54:21Z
dc.date.available 2014-11-11T06:54:21Z
dc.date.issued 2014 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Smuts, E. 2014. Displaced romanticism: searching for the self in J.M.Coetzee's autobiographical fiction. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/9527
dc.description Includes bibliographical references. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract This thesis is a literary critical investigation into the strategies of self-definition at work in the autobiographical fiction of J.M. Coetzee. My focus falls on those of his novels that have a more-or less explicit autobiographical resonance (Boyhood, Youth, Elizabeth Costello, Diary of a Bad Year, Summertime), with supplementary forays into two additional books (Age of Iron and The Childhood of Jesus). My argument centres on the observation that Coetzee's work derives its affective force from the conflict he stages, time and again, between the desire for a transcendent sense of being, Romantic in origin, and the realization that being derives its co-ordinates from the discursive formations - ideological, socio-historical, philosophical, linguistic - that provide the structure of meaning for self-expression in writing. I introduce my argument by situating Coetzee's work according to a post-structuralist critical framework that emphasizes his strategies of subjective displacement. Our reading of his work, I then suggest, might benefit from a more considered evaluation of the persistent influence of a Romantic ideal concerning the primacy of subjective experience. In the first chapter I explore the conceptual tension that derives from these contrasting points of view by considering Coetzee's engagement with the tradition of confessional writing, arguing that he foregrounds the textual subject as the locus in which the truth of the self is to be sought. The second chapter examines the central role of the Karoo farm in the formation of the autobiographical subject in Coetzee's writing, and links it to a Romantic model of identification between the self and nature. In the third chapter I argue that Coetzee's awareness of socio-political realities inhibits the Romantic yearning for an authentic sense of self, even while he reformulates the idea of authentic voice as the expression of a politically and historically compromised subjectivity. Finally, in the last chapter I turn my attention to the authorial imprint that derives from the consistency of Coetzee's depiction of conflict between transcendent and contextual realities, and conclude by tracing the afterlife of this dynamic in his most recent novel, The Childhood of Jesus. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.title Displaced romanticism: searching for the self in J.M.Coetzee's autobiographical fiction en_ZA
dc.type Doctoral Thesis
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Humanities en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of English Language and Literature en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Doctoral
dc.type.qualificationname PhD en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image
dc.identifier.apacitation Smuts, E. (2014). <i>Displaced romanticism: searching for the self in J.M.Coetzee's autobiographical fiction</i>. (Thesis). University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of English Language and Literature. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11427/9527 en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation Smuts, Eckard. <i>"Displaced romanticism: searching for the self in J.M.Coetzee's autobiographical fiction."</i> Thesis., University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of English Language and Literature, 2014. http://hdl.handle.net/11427/9527 en_ZA
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation Smuts E. Displaced romanticism: searching for the self in J.M.Coetzee's autobiographical fiction. [Thesis]. University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of English Language and Literature, 2014 [cited yyyy month dd]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11427/9527 en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - Thesis / Dissertation AU - Smuts, Eckard AB - This thesis is a literary critical investigation into the strategies of self-definition at work in the autobiographical fiction of J.M. Coetzee. My focus falls on those of his novels that have a more-or less explicit autobiographical resonance (Boyhood, Youth, Elizabeth Costello, Diary of a Bad Year, Summertime), with supplementary forays into two additional books (Age of Iron and The Childhood of Jesus). My argument centres on the observation that Coetzee's work derives its affective force from the conflict he stages, time and again, between the desire for a transcendent sense of being, Romantic in origin, and the realization that being derives its co-ordinates from the discursive formations - ideological, socio-historical, philosophical, linguistic - that provide the structure of meaning for self-expression in writing. I introduce my argument by situating Coetzee's work according to a post-structuralist critical framework that emphasizes his strategies of subjective displacement. Our reading of his work, I then suggest, might benefit from a more considered evaluation of the persistent influence of a Romantic ideal concerning the primacy of subjective experience. In the first chapter I explore the conceptual tension that derives from these contrasting points of view by considering Coetzee's engagement with the tradition of confessional writing, arguing that he foregrounds the textual subject as the locus in which the truth of the self is to be sought. The second chapter examines the central role of the Karoo farm in the formation of the autobiographical subject in Coetzee's writing, and links it to a Romantic model of identification between the self and nature. In the third chapter I argue that Coetzee's awareness of socio-political realities inhibits the Romantic yearning for an authentic sense of self, even while he reformulates the idea of authentic voice as the expression of a politically and historically compromised subjectivity. Finally, in the last chapter I turn my attention to the authorial imprint that derives from the consistency of Coetzee's depiction of conflict between transcendent and contextual realities, and conclude by tracing the afterlife of this dynamic in his most recent novel, The Childhood of Jesus. DA - 2014 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 2014 T1 - Displaced romanticism: searching for the self in J.M.Coetzee's autobiographical fiction TI - Displaced romanticism: searching for the self in J.M.Coetzee's autobiographical fiction UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/9527 ER - en_ZA


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