Segall 2005 Ghosts

Title Information

Author: Kimberly Wedeven Segall

Title: Pursuing Ghosts

Subtitle: The Traumatic Sublime in J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace

Journal: Research in African Literatures

Volume: 36

Issue: 4

Year: Winter 2005

Pages: 40-54

ISSN: 0034-5210 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1527-2044 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | South African History | Representations: Literature / J.M. Coetzee

Full Text

Link: Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

Additional Information

Author: Kimberly Wedeven Segall, English Department, Seattle Pacific University

Abstract: »In Disgrace, J.M. Coetzee presents a South African scene of postelection violence through the eyes of Professor David Lurie. In Lurie's dream of his daughter and the imagined personas of an opera, past violations are reconfigured through ghostly bodies. These ghosts are symbolic figures. The ghost does not bring terror, then a relieved delight, as in the romantic sublime; rather, Disgrace's ghosts are Lurie's re-formations of an attack on himself and the rape of his daughter. The specters create a lasting, unsettling affect, as seen in the changes in the writing of the opera. These haunting embodiments contrast Lurie's initial self-romanticizing words. Any romanticized sublimation would forget the tragedy of the past. In contrast, the traumatic sublime is a strategy of symbolic recollection, not just of the attack, but a "proxy" that elucidates Lurie's sordid past. In Disgrace, the female ghost is not only a specter of oppression; it is this novel's symbol of remembrance, a "post"-apartheid muse.« (Source: Research in African Literatures)

Wikipedia: J. M. Coetzee: Disgrace (novel)

Added: August 15, 2009 – Last updated: December 20, 2014