U.S. Intellectual History Blog

A Quote for Tuesday

“‘If you signify that you subscribe to the statement, which will have the status of a plea in mitigation, the Rector will be prepared to accept it in that spirit.’

‘In what spirit?’

‘A spirit of repentance.’

‘Manas, we went through the repentance business yesterday. I told you what I thought. I won’t do it. I appeared before an officially constituted tribunal, before a branch of the law. Before that secular tribunal I pleaded guilty, a secular plea. That plea should suffice. Repentance is neither here nor there. Repentance belongs to another world, to another universe of discourse.’

‘You are confusing issues, David. You are not being instructed to repent. What goes on in your soul is dark to us, as members of what you call a secular tribunal, if not as fellow human beings. You are being asked to issue a statement.'”

J.M Coetzee, Disgrace (New York: Penguin, 1999), 57-58.