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Apocalyptic FuturesMarked Bodies and the Violence of the Text in Kafka, Conrad, and Coetzee$
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Russell Samolsky

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823234790

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823234790.001.0001

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The Body in Ruins: Torture, Allegory, and Materiality in J. M. Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians

The Body in Ruins: Torture, Allegory, and Materiality in J. M. Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians

Chapter:
(p.123) Chapter Three The Body in Ruins: Torture, Allegory, and Materiality in J. M. Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians
Source:
Apocalyptic Futures
Author(s):

Russell Samolsky

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823234790.003.0004

This chapter begins by considering what is at stake in Coetzee's ascription of his novel Waiting for the Barbarians to his doppelgänger JC from Diary of a Bad Year. How might we regard the changes that accrue to Barbarians when it is abstracted from the context of late apartheid in which it was written, and brought into the context of the revelations of torture in the chambers of Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and “enhanced interrogation” at the Guantánamo camp? The chapter then proceeds to analyze Waiting for the Barbarians in relation to Paul de Man's Aesthetic Ideology and his concept of the materiality of the letter. This allows for an examination of the way in which Coetzee's text resists an accrual of spectacular power that was offered by the exposure of state torture in the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings.

Keywords:   Aesthetic Ideology, allegory, apartheid, Coetzee, Paul de Man, South Africa, torture, Truth and Reconciliation, Waiting for Barbarians

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