J. M. Coetzee: Disgrace

(1575 words)
  • Lindsay Sullivan (University of Wales, Cardiff)

Disgrace, set in Coetzee's native South Africa, tells the story of fifty-two year old David Lurie, Professor of Communications at Cape Technical University. Lurie becomes infatuated with one of the students from his Romantics course, Melanie Isaacs, and they have sex on a number of occasions. The narrative implies that Lurie's sexual acts constitute rape. We read his recollection of one event: “A memory floods back: the moment on the floor when he forced the sweater up and exposed her neat, perfect little breasts” (Chapter 3). The verbs “forced” and “exposed” suggest a moderated and reluctant admission that Melanie is coerced into the act of intercourse. On a further occasion the verbs similarly indicate …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Sullivan, Lindsay. "Disgrace". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 September 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5577, accessed 01 December 2015.]