chapter  3
19 Pages

Elizabeth Costello in Elizabeth Costello . Eight lessons

Those Who Can’t, Teach
ByAparna Mishra Tarc

Elizabeth Costello. Eight Lessons feature the educational adventures of Coetzee’s most enduring character. First making her appearance in an invited lecture on Realism for the Ben Belitt Lecture at Bennington College, she again appears in the author’s delivery of the Tanner lectures at Princeton University on human values. Elizabeth Costello greatest conceptual problem with her talk, she complains, is she is caught between two desires: To speak and be taken seriously, like the great thinkers in past and present days, and to speak like and for the animal. Refusing to use academic orientations to knowledge that in the first place mistreat the animal, she cannot use philosophical discourse in the conventional way. Speaking in the way of the animal leaves her no choice but to abandon conventional procedures of reason. Abandoning reason, Costello dramatically calls for an education of the “seat of the heart,” sympathy, or feeling for others.