JM Coetzee

John CoetzeeJ.M. Coetzee was born in South Africa and educated in South Africa and the United States. ...

Here and Now: Letters, 2008–2011 by Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee & Distant Intimacy: A Friendship in the Age of the Internet by Frederic Raphael and Joseph Epstein

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June 2013, no. 352

The recent publication of Willa Cather’s letters caused a stir in the United States. The American author, surprisingly underrated here, had explicitly and repeatedly said she did not want her letters made public. Some believe her wishes should be respected; others say the demands of history are greater than those of a long-dead individual.

This, of c ...

The Childhood of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee & The Round House by Louise Erdrich

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March 2013, no. 349

‘What is chaos?’ asks the unnerving child at the centre of J.M. Coetzee’s new parable-novel, The Childhood of Jesus. ‘I told you the other day,’ replies the child’s guardian. ‘Chaos is when there is no order, no laws to hold on to. Chaos is just things whirling around.’

Louise Erdrich’s The Round House begins with ...

The 2013 Voiceless Anthology edited by J.M. Coetzee et al.

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March 2013, no. 349

‘Death has a dual character,’ Zadie Smith writes in her novel The Autograph Man (2002); ‘it seems to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time’. Popular culture is currently awash with cookery programs and diet fads, yet the lives of animals, and the industries that deal in their deaths, have never been more absent from city life. It seems reas ...

J.M. Coetzee: A Life in Writing by J.C. Kannemeyer, translated by Michiel Heyns

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February 2013, no. 348

When I heard that someone was writing Coetzee’s biography, I thought he must be either brave or foolish. After all, Coetzee’s own approach to autobiography is slippery, to say the least. J.C. Kannemeyer was (he died suddenly on Christmas Day 2011) a South African professor of Afrikaans and Dutch, a veteran biographer, and a literary historian. Coetzee co-operate ...

‘It wasn’t like that in the book’ is one of the commonest and most irritating responses to film versions of famous novels. Adaptation of literature to film seems to be a topic of enduring interest at every level, from foyer gossip to the most learned exegesis. Sometimes, it must be said, the former is the more entertaining, but this is no place for such frivolity.

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Though by profession a scholar of literature with a specialism in French literature, Fredric Jameson (born 1934) has made his mark as a cultural historian and even as what used to be called an historian of ideas. His chef d'oeuvre, Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991), provides one of the more persuasive cognitive maps we have of ...

In 1880, Turgenev visited Tolstoy at his country estate after a long period of estrangement, only to discover that the great novelist had, in the interim, renounced art in favour of ethical enquiry. Turgenev was appalled, and dashed off a letter complaining that ...

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In Doubling The Point (1992), one of J.M. Coetzee’s earlier collections of criticism, there is a long, closely argued essay titled ‘Confession and Double Thoughts: Tolstoy, Rousseau, Dostoevsky’. It has a more scholarly flavour than much of Coetzee’s subsequent non-fiction – collected in Stranger Shores (2001) and his latest volume, Inner Workings – but it is a characteristically lucid piece of analysis that throws an interesting light on his ideas about the imperatives of writing.

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Slow Man by J.M. Coetzee

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October 2005, no. 275

Slow Man begins with an accident. Paul Rayment is cycling along an Adelaide street when he is struck by a car. When he emerges from a daze of doctors and painkillers, he discovers his life has been transformed by this random event. His crushed leg is amputated above the knee. From now on, he will ...

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