“Animal Tracks in the Margin”: Tracing the Absent Referent in Marian Engel’s Bear and J.M. Coetzee’s The Lives of Animals

Paul Barrett


This paper considers Carol Adams' notion of the absent referent in Engel's Bear and Coetzee's The Lives of Animals. I argue that both texts call for altered notions of reading and criticism that attempt to write the evasive presence of animals within textuality. Engel and Coetzee use different techniques to at once point to the impossibility of textual presence, in Adams' sense, while also stressing the necessity of striving for a form of presence that represents animals beyond the logic of the absent referent.


ecocriticism, Coetzee, Engel

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The Johns Hopkins University Press

ISSN: 1920-1222

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