Macquarie University
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The transnational & intercultural dimensions of J.M. Coetzee's writing: poetics of servitude

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posted on 2022-03-29, 03:37 authored by Monica Nye
The Transnational and Intercultural Dimensions of J. M. Coetzee's Writing : Poetics of Servitude thesis focuses on three novels written during the South African apartheid period (1948-1994) using three theoretical frameworks. The works are also interpreted through a servitude lens, a recurring motif in Coetzee’s oeuvre, as his formative years were spent in South Africa during the oppressive apartheid regime. Chapter one examines Life and Times of Michael K (1983) using Abraham Maslow's eight-stage human psychology Hierarchy of Needs framework. Servitude is examined from a coloured, physically impaired man’s point of view. The protagonist Michael overcomes near starvation and homelessness most of his life yet achieves ultimate transcendence. Chapter two examines Waiting for the Barbarians (1980) using Giorgio Agamben's Sovereign Power and Homo Sacer Bare Life philosophy. The status of the once- transcendent magistrate plummets when he is found guilty of consorting with the enemy. He is stripped of title, community and dignity and is classified as an accursed Homo sacer, who can be killed but not sacrificed in a religious ritual. Chapter three examines Foe (1986) using Michel Foucault's Power and knowledge political/historical lens. The female place in 18th century society as well as the use of slavery is also examined along with the power of black versus white narrative.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter 1. Towards transcendence -- Chapter 2. Sovereign power -- Chapter 3. Power and knowledge -- Chapter 4. Conclusion -- Works cited and read.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 85-92

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of English

Department, Centre or School

Department of English

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Jane Messer

Additional Supervisor 1

Paul Sheehan


Copyright Monica Nye 2016. Copyright disclaimer:




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