Edited by Jane Poyner
“Poyner succinctly situates Coetzee in biographical, socio-cultural, and literary contexts, and her brief interview with him effectively dramatizes the challenges of trying to pin him down. The essays—a lively mix of work by such established Coetzee scholars as Derek Attridge and Lucy Graham and emerging scholars like Laura Wright—are noteworthy for their critical insights into Coetzee’s later fiction.”
In September 2003 the South African novelist J. M. Coetzee was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, confirming his reputation as one of the most influential writers of our time. J. M. Coetzee and the Idea of the Public Intellectual addresses the contribution Coetzee has made to contemporary literature, not least for the contentious forays his work makes into South African political discourse and the field of postcolonial studies.
Taking the author’s ethical writing as its theme, the volume is an important addition to understanding Coetzee’s fiction and critical thinking. While taking stock of Coetzee’s singular, modernist response to the apartheid and postapartheid situations in his early fiction, the volume is the first to engage at length with the later works, Disgrace, The Lives of Animals, and Elizabeth Costello.
J. M. Coetzee and the Idea of the Public Intellectual explores Coetzee’s roles as a South African intellectual and a novelist; his stance on matters of allegory and his evasion of the apartheid censor; his tacit critique of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission; his performance of public lectures of his alter ego, Elizabeth Costello; and his explorations into ecofeminism and animal rights. The essays collected here, which include an interview with the Nobel Laureate, provide new vantages from which to consider Coetzee’s writing.
Jane Poyner is a lecturer in English, specializing in postcolonial literature, in the school of English at the University of Exeter. More info →
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Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart provided the impetus for the foundation of Heinemann’s African Writers Series in 1962 with Achebe as the editorial adviser. Africa Writes Back presents portraits of the leading characters and the many consultants and readers providing reports and advice to new and established writers.
Although best known as a master of the formal lyric poem, Louise Bogan (1897–1970) also published fiction and what would now be called lyrical essays. A Poet’s Prose: Selected Writings of Louise Bogan showcases her devotion to compression, eloquence, and sharp truths.Louise Bogan was poetry reviewer for the New Yorker for thirty-eight years, and her criticism was remarkable for its range and effect.
Much recent critical practice, sharpened by an engagement with theory, has questioned conventional notions about literature. The essays in this book reveal the complex and arguably inevitable politicization of South African literary culture.
Colonization, Violence, and Narration in White South African Writing
André Brink, Breyten Breytenbach, and J. M. Coetzee
By Rosemary Jane Jolly
The representation of pain and suffering in narrative form is an ongoing ethical issue in contemporary South African literature. Can violence be represented without sensationalistic effects, or, alternatively, without effects that tend to be conservative because they place the reader in a position of superiority over the victim or the perpetrator?Jolly
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