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Full-Text Articles in Modern Literature
Dialogical Numbers: Counting Humanimal Pain In J.M. Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello, Mike Piero
English Faculty Publications
This essay argues that J.M. Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello stages numerical sequences strategically, dialogically, and parodically in order to call attention to the ideological weight involved in counting. Focusing on how one counts - and accounts for - human and nonhuman animal pain, I contend that the repetition of numbers in the novel works to subvert the neoliberal faith put in numbers, quantification, and data. Without succumbing to some religious-mystical numerology, this reading attempts to expose the fiction involved in the act of counting and the need to pay more attention to numerical discourse in literary fiction. In tracking these numbers ...