J. M. Coetzee and the Idea of the Public Intellectual

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780821416877
  • Publisher: Ohio University Press
  • Publication date: 8/15/2006
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Poyner is a lecturer in English, specializing in postcolonial literature, in the school of English at the University of Exeter.

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Table of Contents

J. M. Coetzee in conversation with Jane Poyner 21
1 The life and times of Elizabeth Costello : J. M. Coetzee and the public sphere 25
2 The writer, the critic, and the censor : J. M. Coetzee and the question of literature 42
3 Against allegory : Waiting for the Barbarians, Life & Times of Michael K, and the question of literary reading 63
4 Death and the space of the response to the other in J. M. Coetzee's The Master of Petersburg 83
5 A belief in frogs : J. M. Coetzee's enduring faith in fiction 100
6 J. M. Coetzee, Elizabeth Costello, and the limits of the sympathetic imagination 118
7 Sorry, sorrier, sorriest : the gendering of contrition in J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace 135
8 Going to the dogs : humanity in J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace, The Lives of Animals, and South Africa's truth and reconciliation commission 148
9 What is it like to be a nonracist? : Costello and Coetzee on the lives of animals and men 172
10 A feminist-vegetarian defense of Elizabeth Costello : a rant from an ethical academic on J. M. Coetzee's The Lives of Animals 193
11 Textual transvestism : the female voices of J. M. Coetzee 217
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