Embodied Ghosts: Coetzee’s Realist Modernism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Philosophers writing on J. M. Coetzee’s literary project have described it as “realist-modernist”. This is due to a combination of the prose’s stylistic features and more substantial issues developed in his novels. Coetzee’s prose is extremely sober, compact, dry, and overtly self-conscious; it contains his reflections on features of the prose itself (a technique strongly associated with the great names of literary modernism) and on the historic-literary conflict between realism and modernism in the modern novel. In this paper, I discuss the relevance of Coetzee’s use of the split page in Diary of a Bad Year, focusing on its role in undermining “ersatz ethical thought”, and develop a model for explaining Coetzee’s realist modernism. This model is situated within a broader, self-critical project that traces the significance of my analysis for the form of philosophical discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhilosophy in the Condition of Modernism
EditorsAna Falcato, Antonio Cardiello
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-77078-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-77077-2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Modernism
  • Philosophy


Dive into the research topics of 'Embodied Ghosts: Coetzee’s Realist Modernism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this