Sympathy and Scapegoating in J.M. Coetzee

In Anton Leist & Peter Singer (eds.), J. M. Coetzee and Ethics: Philosophical Perspectives on Literature (2010)

Andy Lamey
University of California, San Diego
J.M. Coetzee’s book, 'Elizabeth Costello' is one of the stranger works to appear in recent years. Yet if we focus our attention on the book’s two chapters dealing with animals, two preoccupations emerge. The first sees Coetzee use animals to evoke a particular conception of ethics, one similar to that of the philosopher Mary Midgley. Coetzee’s second theme connects animals to the phenomena of scapegoating, as it has been characterized by the philosophical anthropologist René Girard. While both themes involve human interactions with animals, each transcends application to that particular issue and raises deeper questions, respectively concerning the foundations of morality and the therapeutic allure of political violence. Making explicit these two preoccupations enhances our understanding of Coetzee’s fiction, particularly Disgrace. However, when Coetzee’s two philosophical strands are analyzed in their own terms, the ethics of sympathy is shown to be a more coherent notion than the understanding of politics he takes over from Girard.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Coetzee and Alternative Animal Ethics.Elisa Aaltola - 2010 - In Peter Singer & Anton Leist (eds.), J.M. Coetzee and Ethics. Columbia University Press.
Rape and Silence in J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace.Graham St John Stott - 2009 - Philosophical Papers 38 (3):347-362.
Food for Thought: Resourcing Moral Education.Paul Standish - 2009 - Ethics and Education 4 (1):31-42.
Disgrace : Bernard Williams and J.M. Coetzee.Catherine Wilson - 2008 - In Garry Hagberg (ed.), Art and Ethical Criticism. Blackwell. pp. 144--162.
A Note on Eze.P. H. Coetzee - 2001 - Philosophical Papers 30 (3):223-225.
J.M. Coetzee and Ethics.Peter Singer & Anton Leist (eds.) - 2010 - Columbia University Press.


Added to PP index

Total views
183 ( #45,434 of 2,309,283 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
40 ( #19,479 of 2,309,283 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature