An infinite question: The paradox of representation in life & times of Michael K

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7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Life& Times of Michael K aims to portray the violence of subjectivity and thenegation upon which representation is predicated, pointing to the ethical importance of literature. This paper asserts that, in Coetzee's drive to represent the writer’s encounter with the other, he exercises the verysame powers of negation and self-constituting subjectivity engaged withthematically in the novel. The paper suggests that the theme of Life &Times of Michael K – the necessary paradox of representation resultingfrom the irreducible nature of alterity – cannot be read simply as the finalword on the novel’s ethics. The problematic meta-representational themeof the novel, and the ethical position of the work, is investigated with reference to the work of Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Blanchot andJean-Francois Lyotard.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-106
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Commonwealth Literature
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • alterity
  • ethics
  • Representation
  • Levinas
  • Lyotard
  • Blanchot
  • J.M. Coetzee

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

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