'This is the first detailed interpretation of J. M. Coetzee’s “Jesus” trilogy as a whole. Robert Pippin treats the three “fictions” as a philosophical fable, in the tradition of Plato’s Republic, More’s Utopia, Rousseau’s Emile, or Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Everyone in the mythical land explored by Coetzee is an exile, removed from their homeland and transported to a strange new place, and they have all had most of the memories of their homeland “erased.” While also discussing the social and psychological dimensions of the fable, Pippin treats the literary aspects of the fictions as philosophical explorations of the implications of a deeper kind of spiritual homelessness, a version that characterizes late modern life itself, and he treats the theme of forgetting as a figure for modern historical amnesia and indifference to reflection and self-knowledge. So, the state of exile is interpreted as “metaphysical” as well as geographical. In the course of an interpretation of the central narrative about a young boy’s education, Pippin shows how a number of issues arise, are discussed and lived out by the characters, all in ways that also suggest the limitations of traditional philosophical treatments of themes like eros, beauty, social order, art, family, non-discursive forms of intelligibility, self-deception, and death. Pippin also offers an interpretation of the references to Jesus in the titles, and he traces and interprets the extensive inter-textuality of the fictions, the many references to the Christian Bible, Plato, Cervantes, Goethe, Kleist, Wittgenstein, and others. Throughout, the attempt is to show how the literary form of Coetzee’s fictions ought to be considered, just as literary—a form of philosophical reflection.'
Source : publisher's blurb