Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Griffin, Susan Mary

Author's Keywords

Critical animal studies; Literature and philosophy; Literature and science; J. M. Coetzee; Animal rights; Posthumanism


Human-animal relationships in literature; Coetzee, J. M., 1940---Criticism and interpretation; Coetzee, J. M., 1940---Characters--Elizabeth Costello; Animals (Philosophy); Animal rights


For the past four decades, scholarship on the relationship between human and nonhuman animals has been growing inside the academy and sprouting ontological and epistemological concerns about the status of the Humanities as an institution. Between 1997 and 2003, South-African author and Nobel Laureate J. M. Coetzee created Elizabeth Costello, an Australian writer that delivers lectures at certain universities and causes controversy when addressing the nature of animal rights movements. This work aims at analyzing the situations in which Coetzee uses Costello to speak about the cruelty to nonhuman animals. What I argue is that in entering the conversation through the use of a fictional character, Coetzee puts the discourse of both philosophy an science in perspective and forces the reader to rethink the politics involved in the ways disciplines speak of animals.