Doubling The Point

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Coetzee is known here for his fiction, set in his native South Africa, but less so for his criticism. This collection of essays should enhance his reputation. Coetzee examines such literary giants as Samuel Beckett (stylistically analyzing Watt via a computer-generated diagram in one essay), Franz Kafka, Robert Musil, D.H. Lawrence, and fellow South African writers Athol Fugard, Breyten Breytenbach, and Nadine Gordimer. Also included are sections on poetics, popular culture, syntax, and censorship. Atwell interviews Coetzee at the beginning of each section to complete a retrospective analysis of the essays; the result is a literary autobiography of stature. Recommended for academic as well as large public libraries.-- Ann Irvine, Montgomery Cty. P.L., Md.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674215184
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 8/12/1992
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 450
  • Sales rank: 1,528,435
  • Product dimensions: 0.91 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 9.21 (d)

Meet the Author

J.M. Coetzee
J. M. Coetzee is Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago and Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide, Australia.


John Maxwell Coetzee was born in 1940 in Cape Town, South Africa. He is of both Boer and English descent. His parents sent him to an English school, and he grew up using English as his first language.

At the beginning of the 1960s he moved to England, where he worked initially as a computer programmer. He studied literature in the United States and has gone on to teach at several American universities, the University of Cape Town, and the University of Adelaide.

Coetzee made his debut as a writer of fiction in 1974. His first book, Dusklands was published in South Africa. His international breakthrough came in 1980 with the novel Waiting for the Barbarian. In 1983 he won the Booker Prize in the United Kingdom for Life and Times of Michael K. In 1999, he became the first author to be twice awarded the Booker Prize, this time for his novel, Disgrace. In 2003, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. The Academy cited the astonishing wealth of variety in Coetzee's stories, many of which are set against the backdrop of apartheid.

In addition to his novels, Coetzee has written numerous essays and interviews. His literary criticism has been published in journals and collected into anthologies.

Good To Know

Described by friends as a reclusive and private man, Coetzee did not make the trip to London in 1984 to receive the Booker Prize for Life and Times of Michael K, nor when he again won the prize for Disgrace in 1999.

His 1977 novel, In the Heart of the Country, was filmed as the motion picture Dust in 1985.

Coetzee has also been active as a translator of Dutch and Afrikaans literature.

In 2002, Coetzee emigrated to Australia.

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    1. Also Known As:
      John Maxwell Coetzee
    2. Hometown:
      Adelaide, Australia
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 9, 1940
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cape Town, South Africa
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Cape Town, 1960; M.A., 1963; Ph.D. in Literature, University of Texas, Austin, 1969

Table of Contents

  • Author’s Note
  • Editor’s Introduction

  • Interview
  • The Comedy of Point of View in Beckett’s Murphy (1970)
  • The Manuscript Revisions of Beckett’s Watt (1972)
  • Samuel Beckett and the Temptations of Style (1973)
  • Remembering Texas (1984)

The Poetics of Reciprocity
  • Interview
  • Achterberg’s “Ballade van de gasfitter”: The Mystery of I and You (1977)
  • The First Sentence of Yvonne Burgess’ The Strike (1976)
  • A Note on Writing (1984)
  • Jerusalem Prize Acceptance Speech (1987)

Popular Culture
  • Interview
  • Captain America in American Mythology (1976)
  • The Burden of Consciousness in Africa (1977)
  • Four Notes on Rugby (1978)
  • Triangular Structures of Desire in Advertising (1980)

  • Interview
  • The Rhetoric of the Passive in English (1980)
  • The Agentless Sentence as Rhetorical Device (1980)
  • Isaac Newton and the Ideal of a Transparent Scientific Language (1982)

  • Interview
  • Time, Tense, and Aspect in Kafka’s
    “The Burrow” (1981)
  • Robert Musil’s Stories of Women (1986)

Autobiography and Confession
  • Interview
  • Confession and Double Thoughts: Tolstoy,
    Rousseau, Dostoevsky (1985)

Obscenity and Censorship
  • Interview
  • The Taint of the Pornographic: Defending
    (against) Lady Chatterley (1988)
  • Censorship in South Africa (1990)

South African Writers
  • Interview
  • Man’s Fate in the Novels of Alex La Guma (1974)
  • Into the Dark Chamber: The Writer and the South African State (1986)
  • Athol Fugard, Notebooks, 1960—1977 (1984)
  • Breyten Breytenbach, True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist and Mouroir (1985)
  • Nadine Gordimer, The Essential Gesture (1989)

  • Interview

  • Notes
  • Sources and Credits
  • Index

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