Beiträge zu einer Kritik des ethnologischen Kulturbegriffs
Chapter Three: “In the European Core”
Joanna Jeziorska-Haładyj University of Warsaw Matters of Rhythm, Masters of Form I shall start with an explanation of the phrases used in the title. The phrase “matters of rhythm” comes from John Maxwell Coetzee himself. Let me quote a passage from an autobiographical article entitled “Homage”: “The deepest les- sons one learns from other writers are, I suspect, matters of rhythm, broadly conceived” (Coetzee 1993: 5). Later he adds: “a style, an attitude to the world, [which] as it soaks in, becomes part of the personality, part of the self, ultimately indistinguishable from the self ” (ibid. 7). Using this concept as a guide, I would like to explore and discuss the poetics of the novel that emerges from Coetzee’s theoretical or critical declarations and writing practice – considered here togeth- er to stress the unity of thought, although with greater emphasis on the former. It is a construct which, I believe, developed partly through contact with and refer- ence to Central European authors, whom I call – and this is the explanation for the second part of my title – masters of form. The list is lengthy but it without doubt must start with Franz Kafka, followed by Joseph Škvorecký, Joseph Roth, Robert Musil, Bruno Schulz and Sàndor Màrai, as well as many others. I will not focus here on thematic parallels, but on the formal – to borrow a phrase from E.M. Forster – “aspects of the novel”: levels of style, composition, narrative. Cen- tral European poets, like Zbigniew Herbert, Paul...