Ever since it was first published in 1999, Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee's novel Disgrace has provoked controversy. Set in post-apartheid South Africa, it follows Prof. David Lurie as he encounters disgrace through his sexual exploitation of a student and then through the shocking gang-rape of his only daughter. The novel's uncompromising portrayal of the "new" South Africa outraged many, who found the book regressive, even racist. It also challenged readers worldwide to confront its hard questions. This first book of essays devoted to the novel ambitiously brings together criticism and pedagogy. The ten critical essays and eight essays on teaching Disgrace grapple with the ethical issues the novel so provocatively raises: rape, gender, race, animal rights. Disgrace is widely taught in colleges and universities and read in book clubs; the debates it has given rise to will take on fresh life with the release of the upcoming film starring John Malkovich. Unusually, the eighteen contributors to the collection are all faculty members or graduates of the same institution, the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies at the University of Redlands, and have worked together closely in crafting their essays over the past two years. The volume will be exceptionally useful to teachers of literature, philosophy, and South African culture, to book club leaders, and to all readers of Coetzee.
Contributors: Nancy Best, James Boobar, Bradley Butterfield, Jane Creighton, Matthew Gray, Pat Harrigan, Gary Hawkins, Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann, Daniel Kiefer, Bill McDonald, Michael G. McDunnah, Kim Middleton, Kevin O'Neill, Raymond Obstfeld, Kathy Ogren, Kenneth Reinhard, Sandra D. Shattuck, Patricia Casey Sutcliffe, Julie Townsend.
Bill McDonald is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Redlands, Redlands, California.