The Strategy of Intertextuality in J. M. Coetzee's In the Heart of the Country, Foe and Disgrace
El Khairat, Abdelghani
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In this MA research project, I will discuss the strategy of intertextuality in J. M. Coetzee’s works, focusing more particularly on his novels: In the Heart of the Country, Foe and Disgrace. I will also try to show that Coetzee’s use of intertextuality serves many purposes, some of which are to establish a dialogue between his works and those from the major Western and Eastern literatures as well as reacting against them. The theories of intertextuality and parody will form the theoretical material on which I will rely in my analysis and discussion. In this respect, four issues will be highlighted, namely (a) the Theories of Intertextuality, (b) Magda and the Western Literary Heritage, (c) the Function of Parody in Foe, and (d) Disgrace and the Romantic Poets. In “Theories of Intertextuality,” I will try to throw light on the concept of intertextuality and its different forms. The achievements of the French theoreticians, like Julia Kristeva and others, will be central to this chapter. I will also discuss in detail the theory of parody as developed by Linda Hutcheon. As for “Magda and the Western Literary Heritage,” there I will try to find an affinity between Magda’s situation and the sources she cites or quotes from. By the “Function of Parody in Foe” is meant that Coetzee’s choice to rework Defoe’s text is to exploit the tension between the centre and the margin, by challenging the primacy of the Western standards that assume universality and reversing the function of the original text so that what is true becomes false and what is false becomes true and so on. The fourth and the last chapter entitled “Disgrace and the Romantic Poets,” focuses on the relationship between the novel’s protagonist, David Lurie, and the Romantic poets, especially Lord Byron and William Wordsworth.