J.M. Coetzee

J.M. Coetzee by Anthony Uhlmann & A Book of Friends edited by Dorothy Driver

August 2020, no. 423

Though it is his second country of citizenship, Australia might be classified as J.M. Coetzee’s fourth country of residence. He was born in South Africa and served as an academic at the University of Cape Town from 1972 to 2000; he lived in England between 1962 and 1965, where he studied for an MA thesis on Ford Madox Ford and worked as a computer programmer; and he then spent seven years in the United States, taking his doctorate at the University of Texas and being subsequently appointed a professor at the State University of New York. Since his move from Cape Town to Adelaide in 2002, Coetzee’s global literary reputation has risen significantly, helped in large part by the award of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003.

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

It is commonly accepted that the modern European novel begins with Don Quixote. Lionel Trilling went so far as to claim that the entire history of the modern novel could be interpreted as variations on themes set out in Cervantes’s great originating work. And the quality that is usually taken to mark Don Quixote as ... ... (read more)

Beyond the Ancient Quarrel: Literature, philosophy and J.M. Coetzee is a new collection of essays on J.M. Coetzee, perhaps the most important author of imaginative literature in the world today. Unifying the diverse strands of argument animating this thoughtful volume, the book’s editors, noted Coetzee scholars ...

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Letters to the Editor: Reflections on Nam Le, David Malouf, J.M. Coetzee, and the true origin of the curate's egg ...

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While it is true that the essay as a genre has a long and continuous history, it is not always an easy form to categorise or define. J.M. Coetzee has himself contrasted the ‘rather tight discourse’ of criticism with the relative freedom of writing fiction. Indeed, essays – like those collected in this volume – require ‘slow reading’, a term derived from ...

In order to grasp the complexity of allusions in J.M. Coetzee's new novel, The Schooldays of Jesus, you need to have your wits about you. On the other hand, as with its prequel ...

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Few, if any, contemporary authors have attracted the level of critical attention that is lavished upon J.M. Coetzee. No doubt there are many reasons for this, but a good part of the fascination with his fiction is a result of the evident rigour with which it is conceived. To read a Coetzee novel is to encounter a work that seems to have ...

Few authors summon the various modes of irony to better purpose than J.M. Coetzee. Typically, before Coetzee gives a reading, the audience can safely suppose that they are in for a good laugh, the odd squirm and cringe, and at least one moment of bewilderment. But there are exceptions to this general rule, and the several hundred people who gathered to hear Coetzee read last week, on a balmy Tuesday evening in Adelaide, were fortunate to witness an atypical performance by the Nobel laureate.

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Each fiction in this small but handsome volume emerges from an interesting, perhaps even ‘transitional’ phase in J.M. Coetzee’s writing life: between the publication of Disgrace (1999) and Slow Man (2005); before and after receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003. The first story in the collection also predates Coetzee’s move to Adelaide in 2002, as does, presumably, the composition of the second (whose protagonist laments the corporatisation of rural South Africa, declaring, ‘I want nothing to do with it’); the third story was presented and published as Coetzee’s Nobel Lecture.

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