Sobriquet 45.24

In between shopping, visiting friends, and grumbling to myself over the Bengals' cutting of Rudi Johnson, Deltha O'Neal, and Willie Anderson, I read Georgie Horrell's "Post-Apartheid Disgrace: Guilty Masculinities in White South African Writing." Horrell's essay situates Coetzee's novel within a discourse concerned with the intersection of whiteness and gender in contemporary South Africa. Drawing on key works of male and whiteness studies, Horell views Disgrace as Coetzee's contribution to the burgeoning debate on the nature of white male identity in the new dispensation of his native land. Like many critics, Horrell views David Lurie as the embodiment of South African men struggling with their own increasing sense of irrelevance and feelings of guilt for having benefitted from apartheid.

Before I sign off for the evening, I would also like to mention a few of the essays I read last week. The first, Tim Trengrove-Jones's review of Andre Brink's The Rights of Desire, compliments Horrell's essay by reading Coetzee's novel as well as that of his friend and colleague as depictions and analyses of the "decline and diminishment" of white males of David Lurie's generation (131). In the second essay, Michael S. Kochin perceives "[t]he new inverted order" of South Africa, "in which blacks act as colonial exploiters of their former white overlords" as "offer[ing] no greater hope than the white racial colonialism it replaces" (6). Typical of such readings, Kochin's essay views Petrus as emblematic of the same old problems dressed in new clothes. Finally, in comparing and contrasting Disgrace with William Faulkner's "Barn Burning," Ruth Cook sees David Lurie as responding to a South African society similar to the postbellum Southern American landscape of Abner Snopes. Through a series of parallels, Cook's essay proceeds to demonstrate the ways in which the two obsolescent white men confront a newly integrated landscape in which white privilege has begun to disintegrate. Whereas Snopes responds violently, Cook argues, Lurie merely acquiesces silently and without protest, fading into the irrelevance he has come to expect and accept.

For tomorrow: Read another article.

Works Cited

Cook, Ruth. "Fire and Disgrace in the South: Faulkner's Snopes Meets Coetzee's Lurie." Tennessee Philological Bulletin 44 (2007): 37-45.

Horrell, Georgie. "Post-Apartheid Disgrace: Guilty Masculinities in White South African Writing." Literature Compass 2.1 (2005): 1-11.

Kochin, Michael S. "Postmetaphysical Literature: Reflections on J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace." Perspectives on Political Science 33.1 (2004): 4-9.

Trengrove-Jones, Tim. "Not Irredeemably Disgraced?" Rev. of The Rights of Desire, by Andre Brink. Current Writing 12.2 (2000): 131-134.


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