J. M. Coetzee

J. M. Coetzee: (John Maxwell Coetzee) (kö´tsē), 1940–, South African novelist, b. John Michael Coetzee. Educated at the Univ. of Cape Town (M.A. 1963) and the Univ. of Texas (Ph.D. 1969), he taught in the United States and returned home (1983) to become a professor of English literature at Cape Town. He immigrated to Australia in 2002, becoming a citizen there in 2006, and working as a research fellow at the Univ. of Adelaide. Several of Coetzee's novels are noted for their eloquent protest against political and social conditions in South Africa, particularly the suffering caused by imperialism, apartheid, and postapartheid violence. His books are also known for their technical virtuosity. Often melancholy and detached in tone and spare in style, his fiction treats themes of human violence and loss, weakness and defeat, and isolation and survival. His critically acclaimed novels include In the Heart of the Country (1977); Waiting for the Barbarians (1982); the Man Booker Prize–winning Life and Times of Michael K (1983) and Disgrace (1999); The Master of Petersburg (1994); Elizabeth Costello (2003); Slow Man (2005); and Diary of a Bad Year (2007). The last three, written after his move to Australia, have Australian settings and show a more pronounced philosophical orientation. The Childhood of Jesus (2013) is a mysterious, ahistorical fable of a man and a child exiled in a stark, quasisocialist world. Among Coetzee's other writings are an autobiographical trilogy—Boyhood (1997), Youth (2002), and the fictionalized Summertime (2009)—as well as several essay collections including Inner Workings (2007), studies of 20 20th-century writers. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003.

See D. Attwell, ed., Doubling the Point: Essays and Interviews (1992); P. Auster and J. M. Coetzee, Here and Now: Letters, 2008–2011 (2013); studies by D. Penner (1989), D. Attwell (1993), G. Huggan and S. Watson, ed. (1996), D. Head (1997), S. Kossew, ed. (1998), D. Attridge (2004), M. Canepari-Labib (2005), J. Poynter, ed. (2006), L. Sikorska, ed. (2006), L. Wright (2006), and A. Leist and P. Singer (2010).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Lives of Animals
J. M. Coetzee; Marjorie Garber; Peter Singer; Wendy Doniger; Barbara Smuts; Amy Gutmann.
Princeton University Press, 1999
The Writer and Religion
William H. Gass; Lorin Cuoco.
Southern Illinois University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "Taking Offense" by J. M. Coetzee begins on p. 136
Colonization, Violence, and Narration in White South African Writing: André Brink, Breyten Breytenbach, and J.M. Coetzee
Rosemary Jane Jolly.
Ohio University Press, 1996
J. M. Coetzee and the Postcolonial Rhetoric of Simultaneity
Lin, Lidan.
International Fiction Review, Vol. 28, No. 1-2, January 2001
The Language of Fiction in a World of Pain: Reading Politics as Paradox
Barbara J. Eckstein.
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: "Torture and Interrogation: J. M. Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians" begins on p. 68 and "'Race Is Not an Issue': J. M. Coetzee's Life and Times of Michael K" begins on p. 93
Ellipse of Uncertainty: An Introduction to Postmodern Fantasy
Lance Olsen.
Greenwood Press, 1987
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "The Presence of Absence: Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians"
Southern African Literatures
Michael Chapman.
Longman, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "The Truth of Fiction and the Fiction of Truth: Writing Novels in the Interregnum: Gordimer, Coetzee, and Soweto Novels" begins on p. 385
On Literature
J. Hillis Miller.
Routledge, 2002
Librarian’s tip: "Foe as Revisionist Commentary" begins on p. 133
Islands and Exiles: The Creole Identities of Post/Colonial Literature
Chris Bongie.
Stanford University Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "'Lost in the Maze of Doubting': J. M. Coetzee's 'Foe' and the Politics of (Un)likeness" begins on p. 25
Incriminating Documents: Nechaev and Dostoevsky in J.M. Coetzee's 'The Master of Petersburg.' (Sergei Nechaev, Fyodor Dostoevsky)
Scanlan, Margaret.
Philological Quarterly, Vol. 76, No. 4, Fall 1997
Iconicity, Immersion and Otherness: The Hegelian "Dive" of J.M. Coetzee and Adrienne Rich
Eckstein, Barbara.
Mosaic (Winnipeg), Vol. 29, No. 1, March 1996
Search for more books and articles on J. M. Coetzee