Different Crusoes: Multiplicity of Voice in J. M. Coetzee’s Foe and He and His Man

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Lecturer in English Literature, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Tehran, Tehran, I.R. Iran

2 Tha supervisor the research for this article) University of Sussex


Almost three centuries after the publication of The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, J. M. Coetzee re-imagines the original story in two different versions; Foe (1986) and his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, He and His Man (2003). The recreation of one of the early novels of the Western literary canon from the viewpoint of a marginalized character, which is technically called postcolonial intertextuality, establishes a counter-discourse which aims at questioning ideological, Eurocentric and masculine supremacist discourses in the tradition of novel writing. In this article Coetzee’s two narratives are read as his attempts at transforming the monological discourse of the original narrative to a dialogical one and thus creating multiplicity of voices and in Mikail Bakhtin’s words, “polyphony”. However, this article argues that while in Foe polyphony is created through metafictional strategies such as ambivalence, He and His Man suggests that multiplicity of voice and polyphonic narratives are primarily the product of the writer’s development of, what Homi Bhabha calls, “hybridity” in his/her consciousness.



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