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John Maxwell Coetzee is the most mysterious writer of all Nobel Prize winners with two “Booker” award-winning, who did not attend the presentation. He dedicated the Nobel speech not to anyone, but to Robinson Crusoe, the man whose name was a mystery for a long time. The novel “Disgrace" seems to be the most important work of the writer. The hero of the book is a university professor, who loses virtually everything (work and goodwill of the company) because of the scandal with a student. The Posthumanistic novel-polemic is the writer’s response to a question, which was posed by Franz Kafka - to be or not to be a man, if life casts him in the eyes of others to the state of an insect, whether it will be a zero or a start from the scratch. The Posthumanistic novel “Disgrace” shows the story of a professor David Lurie who lost his job because of the affair with his student. The action takes place in a post-apartheid South Africa. He left his town and settled with his lesbian daughter Lucy. The current paper will discuss whether Coetzee has reached his goal in showing Disgrace as a posthumanist novel.
The novel “Disgrace” shows the rational world view based on the idea that human evolution is not completed and may be continued in the future. The final stage of evolutionary development must become posthumanization that is the hypothetical stage of evolutionary development of the human species. The structure and capabilities, which would be different from the modern human as a result of the active use of the advanced technology transformation, is represented particularly in David Lurie. The novel depicts the era of post-apartheid South Africa. David Lurie, a middle-aged professor of Philology at the University of Cape Town, charaterized by scientists’ studying and sex with prostitutes, is interested in the student Melanie, for which he was expelled in disgrace from his post. Posthumanistic “Disgrace” is an out-of-control crazed artificial intelligence. Planning to write a chamber opera about Byron in Italy, he goes to his adult lesbian daughter Lucy, who lives alone on the farm. David starts to work as a volunteer in a veterinary hospital, where he helps to put down the stray dogs and burn their corpses. Once there were three black guys on the farm. They raped Lucy, killed dogs, maimed Lurie, rob the house and were most likely to come again. One of the rapists is a relative of a Petras, who lives on the farm and is clearly not against to become its owner. He offers to marry Lucy and adopt her child conceived during the rape. Lucy is ready to do anything to stay on their land, where she wants to live as if nothing had happened. In the era of posthumanism, man seeks to escape from a pragmatic attitude to life and the cult of consumption in the world today. David can resist it until he understands that it is useless and is left to the will of fate. In his work, John Maxwell Coetzee admits inalienable rights improving human capabilities (physiological, intellectual, etc.) of David Lurie (Miah). This is the plot. The rest of the novel is based on the intricacies of John Maxwell Coetzee’s prose, a constant inner monologue of intellectual Lurie.
John Maxwell Coetzee does not teach, preach, or declare his philosophy. The meanings are hidden somewhere between similar to the scenario specified phrases in the present tense (“David is,” “Melanie dresses”), whuch create a misleading sense of presence and full inclusion. There are constant pessimistic motives in the prose of South African writer: violence, suffering, humiliation, loss of social life and, above all, humility. For some interpreters his humility is a disgrace. For others, a disgrace in itself is only a starting point for the long way through the rejection of culture, ambitions, passions and acceptance of life to true freedom. However, David, as always impeccable, does not demonstrate any dishonor or humility. Lurie, with his dryness and coldness, who is an ironic intelligent man, gets into trouble, but who knows how to get out of it.
The most researched motif in the novel are painful and bad changes in the society of the South Africa that is trying to get rid of dystopia in action, and which was in a long darkness of apartheid for nearly 45 years. This creates a space desperate struggle for power, depressing, smoldering violence, if not legal then claiming to be morally justified, which spills out gradually, little by little. In fact, the country goes on a vicious circle of revenge and violence.
Liberal views of the Lucy’s university statute protect students from harassment of educators, support the coalition against discrimination, the protection of animals - all these signs of Posthumanistic life, which already resolved issues of mere survival and coexistence, and it remains only to restore luster (Neimneh). The oppressed become the oppressors. White people have nothing to oppose this as it is a fault to be redeemd, a mission of the white man is completely discredited. Abusers come to mark their territory (because before the interracial connections were punishable), Petras and Lucy exchange their roles, the strongest can now take the opposite place. Moreover, Lucy (to deserve separate mention of complementary performance) tries to break the cycle of violence, accepting it in their lives and not only refusing to take revenge, but also to run. Posthumanism here means a review of relations between “self” and “other”, and exacerbates the problem of multiculturalism.
As a result, the problems of South Africa after the fall of apartheid, of course terrible in their desperation, like all universal problems, over which Nobel laureates love to brood, almost overshadowed his everything for the Posthumanistic protagonist. Only in the age of 52-year years the professor slowly began to realize that life is still different from the romantic poetry, and, moreover, quite. Posthumanistic “Disgrace", in this context, receives eschatological traits, predicting the disappearance of contemporary forms of human existence. If the identity of humanism is a natural phenomenon, the posthumanism personality is the result of social development, certain social conditions. Life described in a novel is a usual life in Africa: drag this drama from the South African farm to another village and get the same results. Thus, Posthumanism is understood as a kind of ideology, and therefore cannot provide objective knowledge of reality. Posthumanistic “Disgrace”, in this case, is called the indefinite, but the desired ideological alternative to protest against the traditions of humanistic thought. This concept is not filled with new meanings so that they gave a new name to the era. However, the prefix “post” means an eschatological idea, like life after life. Posthumanistic “Disgrace” shows the love of man after humanism. Thus, the novel comes close to the concept of multiculturalism, which, in turn, is closely linked with the concept of globalization.
The novel “Disgrace” depicts the professor, who exchanged Byron to free euthanasia of dogs. The big bald man with a squinting eye and sensible head, beautiful blue flame, burning in the very beginning of the book, was put not the best combination of political (racism), cultural (Byron in Africa), religious (Fall) and other commonplaces allegories. Posthumanist writers such as John Maxwell Coetzee are fond of such topics to make conscientious Western reader to torment himself/herself for sins of the fathers, and the color of the skin.
The heroes of the Posthumanistic “Disgrace” are ordinary and simple people. It is foolish to assume what the characters will bring or say as they seem to do not know yet. The fact is that such people’s motivated action is as difficult as difficultly presented to the reader as they were his/her own actions. The reader can understand everything only after the fact has happened, and this intellectual work John Maxwell Coetzee proposes to readers. They do not know how to react in advance. The actions and all words, which are spoken by characters, require constant reflecting, as well smart people reflect on themselves all the time. However, they understand why they want to be alone. It is not even known with whom John Maxwell Coetzee can be compared in his ability to provide the reader such complex psychological exercises, none of which, moreover, contains any reply at the end of the tutorial (Schwalm).
In Posthumanistic “Disgrace" there can be mentioned any version of mondialism: meritocracy that is a power with dignity, and is not accidentally born in rich countries. Another possible way out is a synthesis of the decaying tradition of liberal humanism society with its ethical views (Kochin). All this is in line with the synthesis of possible civilizations to overcome the individualistic Western extremes of consciousness due to “graft” modernized ethics. However, there can be imagined the contours of Posthumanism in an entirely different plane: changing of the intermittent mental characteristics of a large part of humanity starting from the David Lurie. It may be due to an evolutionary move from the transition (personal) type of mentality to a new global system quality.
Posthumanism concept of “Disgrace,” which adheres to the author, is based on several key positions. It is assumed that in the world there are three main “protagonists”: people, society and nature. Gradually, more and more complications appear in their tripartite relationships (Sundhya). These factors are dialectically interconnected and, as a consequence, they are “doomed” to co-evolution, the purpose of which is the asymptotic approximation of harmonizing relations of three main parties. In the novel “Disgrace,” the data packages are tightly correlated with the concept of sustainable development.
To describe ethnic and ethical controversies, John Maxwell Coetzee uses composition and tightly knit story, in which all the story lines are looped. The author was guided by “the precepts of classical literature.” The definition in the Posthumanistic “Disgrace” can be understood as the criticism of classical humanism as it emphasizes a change of attitude of man to himself, society, environment and rapidly developing technologies.
Posthumanistic “Disgrace”, which is filled with a humanistic worldview, opposes itself to classical humanism. On the one hand, it rejects the idea of anthropocentric posthumanism pointing to the fact that man is part of nature. Due to the evolutionary process, a human has largely transformed his/her mental capacity and thereby stands out among the other living beings as David Lurie. However, posthumanism has a downside. It is the desire to single out a person from the womb of nature, creating a living creature of a different kind, being an integral part of the technosphere with endless changes. In “Disgrace,” a Posthumanism is considered as opportunities to strengthen the intelligence of a protagonist. Consequently, John Maxwell Coetzee was successful and achieved a goal of creating a Posthumanistic novel.