Review of J. M. Coetzee’s “Disgrace”

Joe Webb
Occidental Observer
March 18, 2015


Disgrace, the novel by J. M. Coetzee (London: Secker and Warburg, 1999).

This novel is about as spectacular as Camp of the Saints, by Jeanne Raspal of 45 years ago.

It describes the fix we have got ourselves into with our misguided altruism, as well, as mad moralism directly descended from the Old Testament and Talmud and thru the Protestant churches and on to our current liberalism without God, but full of Ahabism per Melville’s Moby Dick.  Nature to be subdued, evolution to be vanquished by Liberal Fiat:  We are all Equal.  Nature does not care for liberal magic. It just goes on and on, like Moby Dick pushing aside Liberals and occasionally killing them as well. Nothing personal.

I suspect that it was not lost on energetic minds in the time of Darwin, that whales being mammals, must have returned to the sea at some very long time distant from our own time, thus providing such obvious judgment on biblical creation of six thousand years ago.  Evolution as Leviathan of the Deep and Remote Past… disinterested in us of course, with neither malice nor favoritism, and just swimming along through the millennia seeding more and more species, more and more genuine diversity, more and more complexity, with Equality of anything a complete joke on Man, especially White folks who obsess about their moral fitness, and waving magic wands over non-Whites (Change! …ping!) thus failing to observe Nature correctly… a realm of total Inequality in all the ranks of animals, and plants, and every bug or dung-beetle rolling its dinner homeward.

I wrote the following review about 3 years ago… and I keep thinking about the novel… Coetzee got a Nobel Prize.  He is an Africaner, from South Africa and has been well situated to view what has been happening in South Africa, as well as the world, his vantage peering out over Blackness at home and thus seeing it and its kin on the other shore.

P.S.  Subsequent to the writing of this review, I discovered that the ‘Education of the eye’ is a reference to Ruskin and his esthetic theory: “to see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion all in one” which Lurie ironically observes is lost on him with his remark that he has never had much of an eye for anything except pretty girls.  So much for Jewish esthetics.


The novel, Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee, Secker and Warburg, 1999.

Read a few years ago, Disgrace has been popping up in my head for a while. It is hailed as a great contemporary novel set in post-Apartheid South Africa.  Rather than go through the whole plot, the reader should consult the Internet, for a lot of material on J.M. Coetzee, including criticism.  The lit-crit bunch has missed a whole lot.  They — and the reviewers — have missed something central to the novel:  the main character is Jewish.

David Lurie is a lecherous lit professor who is obsessed with sex, and exploits the romantic poets to rationalize, if that be the right word, his philandering.  Coetzee cleverly invites the reader’s sympathy for David Lurie by having him besieged by the League of the Righteous & Politically Correct at his university.  Yes, they are Femi-commies and repulsive, but Professor David Lurie, standing up for Principle, that being privacy and against cant/hypocrisy, is not only contemptuous of the academic PC crowd of multi-cultis,  but of his friends as well;  this goes way past reason.  After all, he has more or less violated a 19-year-old student which he readily admits.  Not rape, but barely consenting sex, a cold affair, without the girl-woman’s  passion or enthusiasm.  She has been pushed into it, without mutuality.

It is possible that some alert and certifiably non-zombie-sleep walker of a critic has seen that David Lurie is Jewish.   I have not read all the commentary, but have read some of it.  However, assuming that most, if not all , of the reviewers and critics are aware of Jews, especially in the literary world, and are attuned to  allusion,  as in Lurie’s daughter’s name, Lucy  (the reference is to Wm. Wordsworth’s Lucy poems — Professor David Lurie is a Wordsworth specialist.  Wordworth’s  Lucy is variously innocent of sex,  a goddess of Good, a lost love,  dead,  a romantic vision). I am struck by the blinders that these critics have imposed on their psyches.  See No Evil, Speak No…etc.  David Lurie, the Jew, becomes invisible.

Lurianic Kabbala is one tendency in Cabbala.  Isaac Luria (1534-1572) was the leader.  He claimed to be able to read his students’ souls and commune with the dead.  There is much comedy in this stuff if you are a rational kind of person, but we are concerned here with Jews. One of the other themes in Lurianic Kabbala, is this:  God is not fully formed; he is in a state of Becoming, not Being.  This theme has also been around in Judaism generally.  Thus rabbis instruct God.  Other  historic Cabbalistic tendencies associated with Sabbatianism  go deeply into transgression and very strange sex, indeed a sexual obsession that shows up in prayer,  “theology,” behavior, modern Jewish novels, Freud and psychoanalysis.

So, far be it from me to presume to suggest that J.M. Coetzee, is not conscious of what he is doing, writing about a Jew and his daughter, the mother being Dutch, some of his characters with Jewish names, Cabbalistic cues, various remarks by other characters that cannot be evaded by the clear-of-eye.

Professor Lurie is “disgraced” but only feels ostracism.  He feels that he is in the Right.  He has a right to honor Eros.  He goes to live with his daughter in the countryside around the Cape.  His daughter, Lucy, is a kind of hippie, back-to-the-land, once-member of a commune-now-disbanded, lesbian, and small farmer who also boards dogs and thereby scrapes out a living.  She is surrounded by Blacks and occasional Afrikaner farmers who live and travel with guns and dogs.  (Thousands of White farmers have been murdered by Blacks since 1994 in S. Africa.)

David Lurie, the ex-professor, is not disgraced so much as he is confounded by his life of  sexual experience and, per David Lurie, not much else.  That is what he broods over, although his love for Lucy (the Innocent), his daughter, is great. The girl-woman that he has wronged, her surname is Isaacs, another Jewish name, and the first name of the Cabbala writer above.  Her parents have apparently converted to Christianity, or the family had converted at an earlier time.  I suspect this is lost on the critics as well.  Mr. Isaacs, the girl-woman’s father, treats David Lurie very well, considering Lurie’s  transgression . This is part of David Lurie’s attempt at honesty when he goes to visit and sort of apologizes.

Lucy and her father are home-invaded by Blacks, who set-fire to David Lurie, rape Lucy, ransack the house, and shoot all of her dogs — purebreds, interestingly.  Luckily for David Lurie, he is doused with mentholated spirits which burn slowly, not gasoline, and he manages to get water from the toilet… to put out the flames. (One could connect the Fire of Eros and, with a stretch, the toilet as a related animal function.)  He comes out of it more or less okay,  but for a piece of his ear gone,  another literary device which comments on his, if not tin-ear, then less than competent ear  for the opera he is  attempting/obsessed with, an opera based on the poet Lord Byron’s Erotic futility.  Lucy is okay but pregnant with apparently the doubled bad luck to have been impregnated by the sperm from one of the three donors who is not only Black but mentally deranged .

David Lurie’s present life runs parallel to Lord Byron’s in Italy, down to the last detail of Byron’s Teresa getting squat and middle-aged while David Lurie beds an equally squat and middle-aged friend of Lucy.  This woman becomes someone  David Lurie  odd-couples with at the end.

Lucy meanwhile totally surrenders to her fate, she refuses to leave the farm, to get an abortion, to go home to Holland where her mother is (Mother Europe) which Lurie of course begs her to do.  She will marry the next-door African neighbor for protection from the surrounding Blacks.  She will have the baby of the Black mentally defective-rapist, she will keep part of her farm, while conceding most of it to her Black neighbor who already has two wives, like South African Whites who have ceded their country.

Her rapists are known to her Black neighbor, are even part of his kin.  She sees that her neighbor has set up the rape to force her to come to terms.  The Blacks now run the show.  Why does she submit to this Disgrace?  She replies to her father’s demands for Justice, that she will not go to the police, what happened to her is a “private matter,  [that] in this place, at this time, it is … my business.”   “What place?”, her father demands.  Lucy: “This place being South Africa.” (p. 112).  David Lurie asks her if she is expiating for the crimes of the past and she says that those words are just “abstractions”.

Lucy’s father pleads with her:  she is “defeated” (p. 151),  she sees the Blacks as debt-collectors, and why should she not pay?(p. 158);  she wonders why she experienced such personal hatred from the rapists, Lurie says it is just “history”,  a history of “wrong.”   (Does this “wrong” belong too to J.M. Coetzee?)  Lucy fights with her father, will not listen to him, claims a personal subjectivity that gives her the right to defend the rapists for their payback.

Finally she says, that the rapists, the rape, the mulatto in her womb, are “facts of life”.  “I am prepared to do anything, make any sacrifice, for the sake of peace” (p. 208).

Well, there we have it, the woman in her White Guilt, her love of any child, even the defective in her womb, defective on top of a black African IQ average of 68.  This is a Total Surrender to mere Life.    This is the surrender of the White race, our genetic White Goodness leading to race suicide.  It is our Racial Disgrace.

There are several bits in the novel that whisper “Jew”.  For example, friendship and care are extended to Lurie following his near lynching … by a friend of Lucy’s.   He does not trust it … “Though they are his countrymen, he could not feel more alien among them, more of an imposter” (p. 191).  He reacts to an innocent gesture of  the Black neighbor which in Europe is a gesture for money/Jew (p. 130), a bit like Phillip Roth’s characters sojourning amongst the goyim. The girl-woman’s boyfriend tells Lurie to “stay with your own kind” (p. 194)… all missed by the critics.

So if Lucy, a probable Christian or Christian subvert surrenders to the Blacks and is thereby disgraced, what about Professor Lurie and his “lurid” artistic interests?  He returns to help Bev Shaw, Lucy’s friend, in her dog rescue/euthanasia mission.  He takes a truckload of dead dogs once a week to the local incinerator and officiates with a death ritual.  There are Cabbalistic references here:  “Perhaps he (a dog about to be euthanized) has already been through it.  Born with foreknowledge….” (p. 83).   He also communes with the dead dogs, a Cabbalistic theme. He appears to be less than unrepentant, but chastened in some way.  He develops compassion for dying dogs, but  not for people.  Of course, he is thinking about his own death in the near distance.  He remarked (p. 69) William Blake’s “Sooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires.”

Blake’s ’unacted desires’ was a transgressive erotic urge of revolt for Cabbalists of the Sabbatian type, and  was passed on directly to (the Romantics?) the Freudians, Frankfurt School  sex-pol agitators, and our own sexual revolution of the 1960s, intellectually provoked by all of the above.

Lurie reflects that while he is a Wordsworth scholar (Wordsworth the premier nature poet),  “he has never had much of an eye for anything, except pretty girls; and where has that got him?  Is it too late to educate the eye?” (p. 218).

“Educate the eye”?  The soul or the genome is what needs education.  But the genome is not going to be educated, it is fixed, like Death, which is what he is now thinking about.  Despair of sorts, his beloved daughter gone to seed,  gone with the God of Rape… of “…chaos and mixture, violator of seclusions” (p. 105).  He looks to Lord Byron’s Teresa.  “Teresa may be the last one who can save him.” (p.209)  Hers is a resignation.  She is past honor, she sings and scorns the snickering of her servants and “sings her immortal longings. She will not be dead.”  And, she, like Professor Lurie, has nothing but her Eros.

Professor David Lurie has experienced the link between Eros and Death but does not understand it.  He has enjoyed his transgressions; he mocks the gentiles around him who have tried to help him.  J.M. Coetzee is surely conscious of the Jewish character that he has created.

Lucy, the Innocent, with idiot Black child.  White Civilization is going under to the Blacks.  The Liberals, like perhaps Coetzee, seeing it in some degree but lacking courage to see completely what is right in front of them, like the critics who cannot see that Professor David Lurie is a Jew.

Jewish Invisibility:  Liberals and almost all putative conservatives get up in the morning, dress, put on their blinders, dig into their feed-bags of the New York Times, slip into harness, obey the psychic crack of the whip, and the Israel Cult resumes its thrall.

David Lurie tells Lucy that the Blacks  “want you for their slave.”  Lucy returns:  “not slavery.  Subjugation.  Subjugation.” (p. 159).  Lucy knows she is submitting.  She is clear enough.  Lucy feels that she is doing penance for White “wrongs” to the Blacks.

Lucy intends White Racial Eclipse, surrendering to mere animality, while David likewise, mates with his Teresa, and studies his fate, to usher dogs ritualistically to their deaths, in between his copulations.   He cares about Lucy, but otherwise, Eros is All.