• Baal and Thoth: Unwelcome Apparitions in J. M. Coetzee’s The Master of Petersburg and Disgrace

    Author(s):
    Hania A.M. Nashef (see profile)
    Date:
    2011
    Group(s):
    LLC South Asian and South Asian Diasporic, TM Literary Criticism
    Subject(s):
    Literature
    Item Type:
    Essay
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6J01G
    Abstract:
    In his seminar, Specters of Marx, Jacques Derrida discusses how one of the essential qualities of the specter is his ability to appear incessantly. The inability to know when the specter may appear, however, not only enforces its haunting quality but also conveys a despairing sense of what Derrida refers to as empty Messianism from which emits “a curious taste of death” (Derrida 169). Derrida also contends that with the empty Messianic wait lies the possibility of hope. In a number of Coetzee’s novels, the characters feel they are possessed by demons or ghosts, from which at times they try to flee or control, as such presences summon memories of a past better forgotten or a future at best dreaded. In this paper, I discuss the roles of two mythological deities, Baal and Thoth that symbolically acquire the role of specters in Coetzee’s The Master of Petersburg and Disgrace, respectively. In Coetzee’s novels, these ancient gods, no longer assume their original mythical role, but instead evolve as premonitions of evil and death.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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