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

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Jane Poyner, John Poyner
Ohio University Press, 2006 - Literary Criticism - 246 pages
A 2007 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

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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The Life and Times of Elizabeth Costello J M Coetzee and the Public Sphere
The Writer the Critic and the Censor J M Coetzee and the Question of Literature
Against Allegory Waiting for the Barbarians Life Times of Michael K and the Question of Literary Reading
Death and the Space of the Response to the Other in JM Coetzees The Master of Petersburg
A Belief in Frogs J M Coetzees Enduring Faith in Fiction
JM Coetzee Elizabeth Costello and the Limits of the Sympathetic Imagination
Sorry Sorrier Sorriest The Gendering of Contrition in J M Coetzees Disgrace
Going to the Dogs Humanity in J M Coetzees Disgrace The Lives of Animals and South Africas Truth and Reconciliation Commission
What Is It Like to Be a Nonracist? Elizabeth Costello and J M Coetzee on the Lives of Animals and Men
A FeministVegetarian Defense of Elizabeth Costello A Rant from an Ethical Academic on J M Coetzees The Lives of Animals
Textual Transwestism The Female Voices of J M Coetzee

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Page 22 - I think, that the intellectual is an individual endowed with a faculty for representing, embodying, articulating a message, a view, an attitude, philosophy or opinion to, as well as for a public.

About the author (2006)

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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