J.M. Coetzee is one of the world's most intriguing authors. Compelling, razor-sharp, erudite: the adjectives pile up but the heart of the fiction remains elusive. Now, in J.M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing, David Attwell explores the extraordinary creative processes behind Coetzee's novels from Dusklands to The Childhood of Jesus. Using Coetzee's manuscripts, notebooks, and research papers-recently deposited at the Harry Ransom Center of
the University of Texas at Austin-Attwell produces a fascinating story. He shows convincingly that Coetzee's work is strongly autobiographical, the memoirs being continuous with the fictions, and that his writing proceeds with never-ending self-reflection.
Having worked closely with him on Doubling the Point: Essays and Interviews and given early access to Coetzee's archive, David Attwell is an engaging, authoritative source. J. M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing is a fresh, fascinating take on one of the most important and opaque literary figures of our time. This moving account will change the way Coetzee is read, by teachers, critics, and general readers.
David Attwell is Professor of English at the University of York. He was educated at the University of Natal in Durban, the University of Cape Town, and the University of Texas at Austin. He has published widely in postcolonial studies, specialising in South African literature. With Derek Attridge he co-edited The Cambridge History of South African Literature (2012). His previous books include J.M. Coetzee: South Africa and the Politics of Writing (1993), J.M. Coetzee, Doubling the Point: Essays and Interviews (1992) of which he was editor and interviewer, and Rewriting Modernity: Studies in Black South African Literary History (2005 and 2006).
Preface. The Coetzee Papers ; 1. An alphabet of trees. Autobiography. The uses of impersonality. ; 2. Recusant Afrikaners. Identity drift ; 3. 1 January 1970. The beginning. Dusklands ; 4. Karoo. The beloved landscape. Life & Times of Michael K, In the Heart of the Country ; 5. The Burning of the Books. Censorship in the life of writing ; 6. Writing revolution. Waiting for the Barbarians ; 7. Suburban bandit. Michael K as outlaw ; 8. Crusoe, Defoe, Friday. Foe ; 9. Mother. Age of Iron ; 10. Father. Summertime ; 11. The Shot Tower. The Master of Petersburg ; 12. Migrations. Irreconcilable lives. Elizabeth Costello, Disgrace ; 13. The third stage. Australia. Slow Man, Diary of a Bad Year, The Childhood of Jesus