Having spent most of the day running errands I really wish I hadn't had to run, I was exhausted by the time I sat down to read today's essay. I knew that I would be too sleepy to read one of the handful of longer critical articles on Disgrace which I have yet to make my way through, so I attempted to read a bit of Inner Workings instead. When my attention flagged, I cracked open Doubling the Point and The Rights of Desire, but I was unable to focus on those texts either. In the end, desperate to make at least a tiny bit of progress on my dissertation, I read John Mullan's brief discussion of sex in Disgrace. Surprisingly, despite it's brevity, Mullan's review provides readers with a slew of useful insights into the nature of sex and sexuality in Coetzee's novel. Particularly relevant to discussions of David Lurie's alienation, for instance, is Mullan's observation that "sex sharpens the character's sense of separateness," an observation so profoundly obvious (at least once one hears it) that it strikes one as astonishing that so many of Coetzee's subsequent commentators have neglected to make note of it when discussing topics that would be illuminated by its inclusion.
Mullan, John. Rev. of Disgrace, by J. M. Coetzee. The Guardian 15 June 2002. Available online.
For tomorrow: Read another essay or a bit of The Rights of Desire.