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Beyond the Ancient Quarrel – Literature, Philosophy, and J.M. Coetzee - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Beyond the Ancient Quarrel: Literature, Philosophy, and J.M. Coetzee

Patrick Hayes and Jan Wilm


In Plato’s Republic Socrates spoke of an ‘ancient quarrel’ between literature and philosophy, which he offered to resolve by banning the poets from his ideal city. Few philosophers have taken Socrates at his word, and there has emerged a long tradition that has sought to value literature chiefly as a useful supplement to philosophical reasoning. The fiction of J. M. Coetzee makes a striking challenge to this tradition. While his writing has frequently engaged philosophical subjects in explicit ways, it has done so with an emphasis on the dissonance between literary expression and philosophical ... More

Keywords: Literature, philosophy, Coetzee, literary criticism, Plato, ancient quarrel, secularism, ethics

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780198805281
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198805281.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Patrick Hayes, editor
Associate Professor of English, St John's College, University of Oxford

Jan Wilm, editor
Lecturer in English Literature, Goethe University

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1 Ancient Quarrels, Modern Contexts

Patrick Hayes and Jan Wilm

Part I Unsettling Boundaries: Philosophy, Literature, and Literary Criticism

4 Double Thoughts

Andrew Dean

Part II Ethics and Moral Philosophy

7 Coetzee and Eros

Eileen John

Part III Reality, Language, and Subjectivity

9 Beyond Realism

Martin Woessner

11 Coetzee and Psychoanalysis

Jean-Michel Rabaté

Part IV Contexts and Institutions

12 ‘Wisselbare Woorde’

Carrol Clarkson

End Matter