By Peter Singer, Anton Leist
N 2003, South African author J. M. Coetzee was once offered the Nobel Prize in Literature for his riveting portrayals of racial repression, sexual politics, the guises of cause, and the hypocrisy of people towards animals and nature. Coetzee used to be credited with being "a scrupulous doubter, ruthless in his feedback of the harsh rationalism and beauty morality of western civilization." The movie of his novel shame, starring John Malkovich, introduced his demanding rules to a brand new audience.
Anton Leist and Peter Singer have assembled a great crew of members who probe deeply into Coetzee's vast and impressive corpus. They discover his method of moral idea and philosophy and pay specific cognizance to his illustration of the human-animal courting. additionally they confront Coetzee's depiction of the easy stipulations of lifestyles, the origins of morality, the popularity of price in others, the sexual dynamics among women and men, the normality of suppression, and the potential for equality in postcolonial society. With its wide-ranging attention of philosophical concerns, particularly on the subject of fiction, this quantity stands on my own in its remarkable trade of moral and literary inquiry.
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Extra resources for J. M. Coetzee and Ethics: Philosophical Perspectives on Literature
Yet they do so against the background of Luther's hymning of the bibelfester Laier and of the English Reformation's own insistence on access to the Bible as an open book. The openness of the Bible was to lead - as earlier in Germany - to proletarian attempts to seize the course of history in the name of God; and once commentaries like Brightman's were translated into the vernacular they played their part as much in the fomenting of revolution as in assuring the scholarly elite of God's calm control of past, present and future.
For it is introduced as 'revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show ... '; a book whose perplexing 'narrative' begins after the words 'Write what you see ... ' (1:1,11). No fewer than 36 times in his 22 chapters, John writes kai eidon ('and I saw'). What he sees is a series of visions visions bizarre, vivid and memorable, from the first sight of the 'one like the Son of Man' to the conclusion in the new Jerusalem. The temporal or narrative axis is disjointed, but the spatial or visual one seems constant: within it the action moves between heaven, earth and the abyss, with the seer receiving revelations focused on each plane, whether he himself is depicted as standing on earth or penetrating the 'open door' into heaven.
These questions raise the further ones of how far the visions, for all their vividness, actually are coherent, and how far a 'vision' that is recounted (rather than viewed in the way that a picture is) can actually convey the same images or 'meaning' to different readers. A Book Resisting Interpretation 19 The coherence of the visions becomes less convincing the more one tries to dwell on them visually. In an interesting comment on the Rider on the white horse in Rev 19, Lohmeyer noticed the aporias and non-sequiturs of the text but put his trust in a symbiosis of visual and reflective reading: The Rider's robe is white, but dipped in blood; yet no battle has taken place.
J. M. Coetzee and Ethics: Philosophical Perspectives on Literature by Peter Singer, Anton Leist