Spectacles of Disgrace: Nietzsche, Coetzee, and Life after the Death of God Academic Article uri icon


  • My aim in this essay is to explore the complementarities that obtain between Nietzsches account (or teaching) of the death of God and J. M. Coetzees characterization of David Lurie in his 1999 novel Disgrace. I am particularly concerned to investigate the responses of Nietzsches Madman and Coetzees protagonist to their respective insights into (or experiences of) the death of God. Both respondents, I offer, may be seen and understood to create public spectacles in which they acquire (what they take to be) permanent, meaning-conferring identities that are meant, if not destined, to withstand the dislocations and calamities to come. In both cases, moreover, the point of the spectacle is to secure the conditions under which its architect may escape any responsibility for navigating the uncertainties that are bound to arise in the aftermath of the death of God. Whereas Nietzsche is primarily concerned to anticipate (and diagnose) the distress that leads to the creation of responsibility-deferring spectacles, Coetzee provides an instructive treatment of life after the death of God, as David Lurie is compelled to confront the emerging post-theistic order he had hoped to avoid.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Conway, D.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Conway, Daniel

publication date

  • October 2022