Reading Coetzee Expectantly: From Magda to Lucy

  • Martina Ghosh-Schellhorn


Some of Coetzee’s female protagonists, notably Magda (In the Heart of the Country), and Lucy (Disgrace), have throughout been less enthusiastically received than they might merit. Why is this so, Ghosh-Schellhorn asks, in this timely revisiting of two of Coetzee’s most controversial novels. The chapter seeks for answers to this poser by invoking Hans Robert Jauss’s reader-reception postulate that aesthetically distanced texts alone succeed in extending our ‘horizons of expectation’. Coetzee’s rewriting of the South African plaasroman hence challenges us to extend our ‘horizons of expectation’ with regard to this genre. Ghosh-Schellhorn argues that, in confronting us with women who take on unprecedented agency, Coetzee asks us to reconsider the concept of the Vrou en Moeder hallowed by Boer ideology.


Horizons of expectation Plaasroman Boer ‘Vrou en Moeder’ Women characters Forms of agency 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martina Ghosh-Schellhorn
    • 1
  1. 1.Transcultural Anglophone Studies (TAS)Saarland UniversitySaarbrückenGermany

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