The Author on the Stage with Multiple Hats in J. M. Coetzee’s Elisabeth Costello




Authorship, narration, narrative levels, narrative drama, aged intellectual


J.M. Coetzee is directly or indirectly always concerned with the multi-layered narrative texts problematising the concept of authorship and narration. This study treats the two novels as “textual narratives” and “narrative dramas” at a time. From a postclassical narratological perspective, the study investigates the narrators and narrative levels in J. M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello (2003) with authors without authority. The characters in the novel occupy the roles of authors, narrators and characters having remarkable intellectual, self-conscious and reflective capabilities. The implied author, playing with the evasive links between the biographical connotations and fictional denotations, elucidates the fictional status of the novels regarding various narrative and authorial strategies. The study aims to reveal that it complicates the narrative levels and narrative voices and further incorporates them with that of the implied author. The study, therefore, foregrounding the narratological insights into literary representation of the characters, narrators and fictional authors, explores how Coetzee questions the notions of fiction, history, metatextual narrative and narrative drama amalgamating the elements of narrative representation, ideology and morality, politics (ecopolitics) and literary theory, writing as a semiotic praxis and writing as performance. The paper concludes that Coetzee undermines the hierarchical concepts and binary oppositions (textual, fictional, cultural, historical) assumed or produced through the act of writing or representation.


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How to Cite

Aldemir, N. (2022). The Author on the Stage with Multiple Hats in J. M. Coetzee’s Elisabeth Costello. Journal of Narrative and Language Studies, 10(20), 238–256.