J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace

Lindsay Sullivan (Cardiff University)
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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 …

1575 words

Citation: Sullivan, Lindsay. "Disgrace". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 September 2004 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5577, accessed 24 September 2023.]

5577 Disgrace 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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