This essay takes up Derrida’s discussion in ‘Force and Signification’ of reading and writing as a ‘strange labour of conversion and adventure in which grace can only be absent [l’absente]’. It focuses on the ideas of work, the oeuvre, labour and travail in Derrida and Cixous, and in J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace. And it pursues the thinking of a work other than that fetishized by conservative ideologues, and links this to the work of fiction, and of the novel. While it eschews any theological debate about the relationship between grace and works, some space is left open here for the advent of grace, the absent one.
- de Man
- narrative voice