Strong Opinions J.M. Coetzee and the Authority of Contemporary Fiction

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-03-28
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
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This new collection of essays on Coetzee examines how his novels create and unsettle literary authority. Its unique contribution is to show how Coetzee provokes us into reconsidering certain basic formal and existential questions such as the nature of literary realism, the authority of the author and the constitution of the human self in a posthumanist setting by consciously revealing the literary-theoretical seams of his work. Strong Opinions makes the innovative claim that Coetzee's work is driven not by a sense of scepticism or nihilism but rather by a form of controlled exposure that defines the literary. The essays in the volume variously draw attention to three of Coetzee's most recent and significant experiments in controlled exposure. The first is the exposure of place-Coetzee's decision to set his novels in his newly adopted country of Australia. The second is the exposure of form-Coetzee's direct, almost essayistic address of literary-philosophical topics within his novels. And the third is the exposure of limits-Coetzee's explicit deconstruction of the traditional limits of human life.

Author Biography

Chris Danta is Senior Lecturer in English in the School of English, Media and Performing Arts at the University of New South Wales. He has published essays in New Literary History, Textual Practice, Modernism/Modernity, Sub-Stance and Literature and Theology.

Sue Kossew is Professor of English at Monash University, Australia. Her publications include Pen and Power: A Post-colonial Reading of J. M. Coetzee and André Brink (1996), Critical Essays on J. M. Coetzee (1998), Re-Imagining Africa: New Critical Perspectives (Nova Science, 2001, co-edited with Dianne Schwerdt) and Writing Woman, Writing Place: Australian and South African Fiction (2004).

Julian Murphet is Professor of Modern Film and Literature at the University of New South Wales, Australia. He is the author of Multimedia Modernism (2009), Literature and Race in Los Angeles (2001), co-author of Narrative and Media (Cambridge University Press, 2005), and co-editor of Literature and Visual Technologies (2003).

Table of Contents


J.M. Coetzee: the Janus Face of Authority
Chris Danta

Part One: Place
1. J.M. Coetzee's Australian Realism
Elleke Boehmer
2. "[I]n Australia you start zero": the Escape from Place in J.M. Coetzee's Late Novels
Melinda Harvey
3. J.M. Coetzee and Patrick White: Explorers, Settlers, Guests
Maria López

Part Two: Form
4. Coetzee's Opinons
Paul Patton
5. Diary of a Bad Year: Parrhesia, Opinion, and Novelistic Form
Julian Murphet
6. Realism and Intertextuality in Coetzee's Foe
Anthony Uhlmann

Part Three: Limits
7. The Trope of Following in J. M. Coetzee's Slow Man
Mike Marais
8. Literary Migration: Shifting Borders in Coetzee's Australian Novels
Sue Kossew
9. The Melancholy Ape: Coetzee's Fables of Animal Finitude
Chris Danta
10. Silence as Heterotopia in Coetzee's Fiction
Bill Ashcroft


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