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Disgrace April 23, 2006

Posted by pauzadepranz in coetze, Uncategorized.

.M. Coetze. Disgrace. 1999.

Nowhere near as good as Waiting for the Barbarians

Count the problems with the following passage:

Menstruation, childbirth, violation and its aftermath: blood-matters; a woman’s burden, women’s preserve.

Not for the first time, he wonders whether women would not be happier living in communities of women, accepting visits from men only when they choose. Perhaps he is wrong to think of Lucy as homosexual. Perhaps she simply prefers female company. Or perhaps that is all lesbians are: women who have no need of men.

No wonder they are so vehement against rape, she and Helen. Rape, god of chaos and mixture, violator of seclusions. Raping a lesbian worse than raping a virgin: more of a blow. (104-105)

Book Review By Deidre Woollard
Disgrace by J.M. Coetze

This book tells the story of David Lurie, a South African professor who, after being fired for sexual misconduct, goes to live in a remote area with his daughter. He plans to work on his Byron studies but finds himself getting involved in local dramas. After his daughter is violated by local black neighbors, David is forced to reconsider his views toward women and life in general.


1. pauzadepranz - April 23, 2006

Campus affairs

To mark Valentine’s Day, Lee Elliot Major lists the top ten best and most influential romantic academic novels and plays.

Thursday February 14, 2002

This is the book proposal: hapless university professor in mid-life crisis meets young attractive student; they have a passionate affair that ends in tragedy, farce and disgrace on a university campus populated by politically correct and petty academics. Sound familiar? In the world of popular fiction it has proven to be a highly successful plot line over the years.
The lecturer-student affair is a recurring theme in books and plays. In fact, it could be defined as a whole genre in modern fiction. Publishers do not seem to tire of the predictable plotlines, characters and satires on the university world.

There are also rigidly set gender roles: the vast majority of novels and plays tend to feature a relationship between an older male professor and a younger female student. This seems odd when we all know that a common sexual fantasy among men is, of course, to have an affair with a senior, powerful, clever female.

The idea of a young man being seduced by an older woman can be viewed as “exciting and fun”, one academic confirmed, following a research project at the Royal Free and University College Medical School last year. This particular observation was not new, yet the scenario appears to be a largely untapped theme in popular fiction on academic life.

But what are the best examples of the genre? Here we produce a Valentine’s Day top ten of the best and most influential romantic academic novels and plays. As always, the choice is purely subjective. But please do send in any other suggestions.

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