Disgrace, by Nobel Prize-winning South African-Australian writer J.M. Coetzee, was published in 1999 and was awarded that year’s Booker Prize in literature. The novel examines gender, sex, age, race, and power dynamics in post-Apartheid South Africa. Informed by a third-person narrator, Disgrace follows the life and thoughts of David Lurie, a white, middle-aged college professor who lands in a state of disgrace after pressuring his young student into a sexual affair at their Cape Town university. Later, while living in exile on his daughter’s farm, David is forced to reckon not only with himself and his relationships with women, but also with South Africa’s simmering racial tensions when a violent attack changes his and Lucy’s lives forever.


See a complete Character List for Disgrace, as well as in-depth analysis of its most important characters.

Literary Devices

Here's where you'll find analysis of the main themes, motifs, and symbols in Disgrace.


Here's where you'll find important quotes from Disgrace and explanations of them.


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