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J.M. Coetzee

Born in 1940 in Cape Town to parents of Afrikaner descent, the life of John Maxwell Coetzee (pen name J.M. Coetzee) spans the history of the rise and fall of apartheid -- in which racial segregation is enforced through government policy and legislation -- in South Africa. Whereas for a postcolonial critic this biographical context might immediately invite certain readings of his work, such an approach would be extraordinarily reductive. In fact, many (though by no means all) of the literary texts of which Coetzee’s large oeuvre is comprised make a point of not specifying the racial makeup of their characters, preferring instead to allow the reader to infer them. Such a move exhibits an explicit rejection of South Africa’s racial politics and what has now become its somewhat suffocating history. Interestingly enough, then, Coetzee emigrated to Australia and in 2006 officially became an Australian citizen. After receiving a PhD in linguistics in 1969, Coetzee taught English Literature in institutions in the USA and South Africa, becoming the University of Cape Town's Distinguished Professor of Literature between 1999 and 2001 before he retired in 2002 to Adelaide. Coetzee has a...
Read the essay: J.M. Coetzee by Dominic Davies

Please note: As the works by J.M Coetzee are still in copyright, we cannot include them here. Use the material available here to learn about the writer and his work (which can be found in libraries and bookshops).

# Title Description Contributor
1 J.M. Coetzee

Professor Peter McDonald gives a talk on the work of South African Nobel Laureate, J.M. Coetzee...

Peter McDonald
# Title Description Contributor
1 J.M. Coetzee

Professor Peter McDonald gives a talk on the work of South African Nobel Laureate, J.M. Coetzee...

Peter McDonald
# Essay Title Description Contributor
1 Reading between life and work: Reflections on J.M. Coetzee’s life-writing

The work of J.M. Coetzee – the novels, taken together with the memoirs and the critical essays...

Elleke Boehmer
2 J.M. Coetzee

Born in 1940 in Cape Town to parents of Afrikaner descent, the life of John Maxwell Coetzee (pen...

Dominic Davies
3 Contemporary Writers - Introduction

The parameters of both 'Contemporary' and 'Postcolonial', the adjectives that preface the...

Dominic Davies