J. M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing

J. M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing : Face-To-Face with Time

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An insightful literary biography of the Nobel Laureate J. M. Coetzee's, illuminating the creation of his extraordinary novels J. M. Coetzee is one of the most renowned yet elusive authors of our time. Now, in J.M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing, David Attwell explores the extraordinary creative process behind Coetzee's work, from Dusklands to The Childhood of Jesus. Drawing on Coetzee's manuscripts, notebooks and research papers housed at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, Attwell reveals the fascinating ways in which Coetzee's famous novels developed, sometimes through more than fifteen drafts. He convincingly shows that Coetzee's work is strongly autobiographical, and that his writing proceeds with never-ending self-reflection while it moves toward aesthetic detachment. Above all, Attwell argues, South Africa, with its history, language, landscape and conflicts, is much more present in his novels than we have realized. Having worked closely with Coetzee on Doubling the Point, a collection of essays and interviews, Attwell is an engaging, authoritative source. J.M. Coetzee and The Life of Writing is the first book-length study to make use of Coetzee's extensive archive. A fresh, engaging and moving take on one of the world's foremost literary figures, it is bound to change the way Coetzee is read.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 137 x 213 x 20mm | 249g
  • English
  • Reprint
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 0143128817
  • 9780143128816
  • 629,284

Review quote

Praise for J.M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing "This book will enrich the understanding of those already well-versed in the literature--it requires close reading of Coetzee, and it rewards it."
--Kirkus Reviews "A thorough...study that will please Coetzee scholars and devotees."--The Nation "A profound meditation on what it means to take up writing as a way of life . . . It's safe to say that few other scholars know as much about Coetzee the man and the author as [Attwell] does."--Los Angeles Review of Books "An excellent account of the genesis of Coetzee's fictions."--London Review of Books "With exemplary care, clarity and sensitivity David Attwell shows just how illuminating a literary biography can be."
--Zoë Wicomb, University of Strathclyde "A fascinating, highly readable and tremendously insightful account of the processes through which some of the greatest novels of our time came into being."
--Derek Attridge, University of York "David Attwell's J.M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing sheds startling new light on the relentless process of making and remaking that has produced the 2003 Nobel Prize-winner's oeuvre."
--Elleke Boehmer, University of Oxford From the Hardcover edition.
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About David Attwell

David Attwell is a graduate of the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa, and completed an MA in African literary theory and criticism at the University of Cape Town, where his supervisor was J. M. Coetzee. He holds a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin and is currently a professor at the University of York. He lives in England.
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Rating details

38 ratings
3.97 out of 5 stars
5 24% (9)
4 53% (20)
3 21% (8)
2 3% (1)
1 0% (0)
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