The twenty-first episode of Professor Ato Quayson’s vlog Critic.Reading.Writing is up!
In this episode titled “J.M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians: Moral Residue & the Affliction of Second Thoughts,” Professor Quayson analyzes the relationship between moral residue, second thoughts, and the art of self-revision in novels by J.M. Coetzee, Chinua Achebe, and Greek tragedies.
Throughout this vlog series, Quayson’s selection of protagonists to spotlight have been tied together by moral residue, or the doubt that arises in the aftermath of an ethical dilemma. Whether protagonists employ this moral residue as a compass for solving subsequent dilemmas or as fuel for self-revision illuminates the protagonists’ true positions in relation to power and empire, however ambiguous. Quayson elaborates,
The Magistrate’s desire for penance and reparation may also be read as essentially being features of moral residue that pertain not to his conflicted feelings toward the barbarian girl, but also to his essential impulse toward the affliction of second thoughts and of self-revision. It is his impulse towards self-revision that triggers the desire both to possess the barbarian girl and also efface her as a material body that lies before him.
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Critic.Reading.Writing with Ato Quayson is the show for booklovers hungry for meaningful conversations about books.
New episodes of Critic.Reading.Writing with Ato Quayson will be posted every Saturday.