J. M. Coetzee: Wikis


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John Maxwell Coetzee

Born 9 February 1940 (1940-02-09) (age 69)
Cape Town, South Africa
Occupation Novelist, essayist, literary critic, linguist
Language English
Nationality South African, Australian
Notable award(s) Booker Prize (1983, 1999)
Nobel Prize in Literature (2003)

John Maxwell Coetzee (English pronunciation: /kʊtˈsiː/)[1] (born 9 February 1940) is an author and academic from South Africa. He is now an Australian citizen and lives in South Australia. A novelist and literary critic as well as a translator, Coetzee has won the Booker Prize twice and was awarded the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature.


Early life and education

Coetzee was born in Cape Town, South Africa on 9 February 1940[2] to Afrikaner parents.[3] His father was an occasional lawyer, government employee and sheep farmer, and his mother a schoolteacher.[4][5] The family spoke English at home, but Coetzee spoke Afrikaans with other relatives.[4] The family were descended from early Dutch settlers dating to the 17th century.[6] Coetzee also has Polish roots, as his great-grandfather Baltazar (or Balcer) Dubiel was a Polish immigrant to South Africa.[7]

Coetzee spent most of his early life in Cape Town and in Worcester in Cape Province (modern-day Western Cape) as recounted in his fictionalized memoir, Boyhood (1997). The family moved to Worcester when Coetzee was eight after his father lost his government job due to disagreements over the state's apartheid policy.[5] Coetzee attended St. Joseph's College, a Catholic school in the Cape Town suburb of Rondebosch,[8] and later studied mathematics and English at the University of Cape Town, receiving his Bachelor of Arts with Honours in English in 1960 and his Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Mathematics in 1961.[9][10]

Coetzee married Philippa Jubber in 1963[11] and divorced in 1980.[5] He had a daughter, Gisela (born 1968), and a son, Nicolas (born 1966), from the marriage.[11] Nicolas was killed in 1989 at the age of 23 in a car accident.[5][11][12][13][14]

Academic and literary career

Coetzee relocated to the United Kingdom in 1962, where he worked as a computer programmer, staying until 1965.[4] He initially worked for IBM in London before moving to International Computers Limited in Bracknell, Berkshire.[15] In 1963, while working in the UK, he was awarded a Master of Arts degree from the University of Cape Town for a dissertation on the novels of Ford Madox Ford.[4] His experiences in England were later recounted in Youth (2002), his second volume of fictionalized memoirs.

Coetzee went to the University of Texas at Austin on the Fulbright Program in 1965. He received a PhD in linguistics there in 1969. His PhD thesis was on computer stylistic analysis of the works of Samuel Beckett.[4] In 1968, he began teaching English and literature at the State University of New York at Buffalo where he stayed until 1971.[4] It was at Buffalo that he started his first novel, Dusklands.[4] In 1971, Coetzee sought permanent residence in the United States, but it was denied due to his involvement in anti-Vietnam-War protests. In March 1970, Coetzee had been one of 45 faculty members who occupied the university's Hayes Hall and were subsequently arrested for criminal trespass.[16] He then returned to South Africa to teach English literature at the University of Cape Town. He was promoted to Professor of General Literature in 1983 and was Distinguished Professor of Literature between 1999 and 2001.[4] Upon retiring in 2002, Coetzee relocated to Adelaide, Australia, where he was made an honorary research fellow at the English Department of the University of Adelaide,[17] where his partner, Dorothy Driver,[10] is a fellow academic.[18] He served as professor on the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago until 2003.[19] In addition to his novels, he has published critical works and translations from Dutch and Afrikaans.[20]

On 6 March 2006, Coetzee became an Australian citizen.[17]

Personality and reputation

Coetzee is known as reclusive and eschews publicity to such an extent that he did not collect either of his two Booker Prizes in person.[21][22] Author Rian Malan has said that:

Coetzee is a man of almost monkish self-discipline and dedication. He does not drink, smoke or eat meat. He cycles vast distances to keep fit and spends at least an hour at his writing-desk each morning, seven days a week. A colleague who has worked with him for more than a decade claims to have seen him laugh just once. An acquaintance has attended several dinner parties where Coetzee has uttered not a single word.[23]

As a result of his reclusive nature, signed copies of Coetzee's fiction are very highly sought after.[20] Recognising this, he was a key figure in the establishment of Oak Tree Press's First Chapter Series, a series of limited edition signed works by literary greats to raise money for the child victims and orphans of the African HIV/AIDS crisis.[24]

In recent years, Coetzee has become a vocal critic of animal cruelty and advocate for the animal rights movement.[25] In a speech given on his behalf by Hugo Weaving in Sydney on 22 February 2007, Coetzee railed against the modern animal husbandry industry.[26] The speech was for Voiceless, an Australian non-profit animal rights organization.[27] Coetzee's fiction has similarly engaged with the problems of animal cruelty and animal welfare, in particular his novels Disgrace, The Lives of Animals and Elizabeth Costello. He is vegetarian.[28]

Achievements and awards

Coetzee has gained many awards throughout his career, although he has a reputation for avoiding award ceremonies.[29] His novel Waiting for the Barbarians was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize,[30] and he is three-times winner of the CNA Prize.[31] Age of Iron was awarded the Sunday Express Book of the Year award,[32] and The Master of Petersburg was awarded the Irish Times International Fiction Prize in 1995.[33] He has also won the French Prix Femina Étranger, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and the 1987 Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society.[30][32][34]

He was the first author to be awarded the Booker Prize twice: first for Life & Times of Michael K in 1983, and again for Disgrace in 1999.[35] Only one author has matched this since – Peter Carey, an Australian. Coetzee was named on the longlist for the 2009 prize for Summertime[36] and was an early favourite to win.[37][38] Coetzee subsequently made the shortlist, but lost out to bookmakers' favourite and eventual winner Hilary Mantel.[39] Coetzee was also longlisted in 2003 for Elizabeth Costello and in 2005 for Slow Man.[33]

On 2 October 2003 it was announced that he was to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the fourth African writer to be so honoured,[40] and the second South African after Nadine Gordimer.[41] When awarding the prize, the Swedish Academy stated that Coetzee "in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider".[42] The press release for the award also cited his "well-crafted composition, pregnant dialogue and analytical brilliance," while focusing on the moral nature of his work.[42] The prize ceremony was held in Stockholm on 10 December 2003.[41] Coetzee was awarded the Order of Mapungubwe (gold class) by the South African government on 27 September 2005 for his "exceptional contribution in the field of literature and for putting South Africa on the world stage."[43] He holds honorary doctorates from the University of Adelaide,[44] La Trobe University,[45] the University of Natal,[46] the University of Oxford,[47] Rhodes University,[48] the State University of New York at Buffalo,[32] the University of Strathclyde[32] and the University of Technology, Sydney.[49]



Political orientation

Writing about his past in the third person, Coetzee states in Doubling the Point that:

Politically, the raznochinets can go either way. But during his student years he, this person, this subject, my subject, steers clear of the right. As a child in Worcester he has seen enough of the Afrikaner right, enough of its rant, to last him a lifetime. In fact, even before Worcester he has perhaps seen more of cruelty and violence than should have been allowed to a child. So as a student he moves on the fringes of the left without being part of the left. Sympathetic to the human concerns of the left, he is alienated, when the crunch comes, by its language – by all political language, in fact.[50]

Asked about the latter part of this quote in an interview, Coetzee said:

There is no longer a left worth speaking of, and a language of the left. The language of politics, with its new economistic bent, is even more repellent than it was fifteen years ago.[51]

Views on South Africa

Along with André Brink and Breyten Breytenbach, Coetzee was at "the forefront of the anti-apartheid movement within Afrikaner literature and letters".[52] On accepting the Jerusalem Prize in 1987, Coetzee spoke of the limitations of art in South African society, whose structures had resulted in "deformed and stunted relations between human beings" and "a deformed and stunted inner life". He went on to say that "South African literature is a literature in bondage. It is a less than fully human literature. It is exactly the kind of literature you would expect people to write from prison". He called on the South African government to abandon its apartheid policy.[34] Scholar Isidore Diala states that J. M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer and André Brink are "three of South Africa's most distinguished white writers, all with definite anti-apartheid commitment".[53]

It has been argued that Coetzee's 1999 novel Disgrace allegorises South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.[54] Asked about his views on the TRC, Coetzee has stated: "In a state with no official religion, the TRC was somewhat anomalous: a court of a certain kind based to a large degree on Christian teaching and on a strand of Christian teaching accepted in their hearts by only a tiny proportion of the citizenry. Only the future will tell what the TRC managed to achieve".[51]

Following his Australian citizenship ceremony, Coetzee said that "I did not so much leave South Africa, a country with which I retain strong emotional ties, but come to Australia. I came because from the time of my first visit in 1991, I was attracted by the free and generous spirit of the people, by the beauty of the land itself and – when I first saw Adelaide – by the grace of the city that I now have the honour of calling my home."[17] When he initially moved to Australia, he had cited the South African government's lax attitude to crime in that country as a reason for the move, leading to a spat with Thabo Mbeki, who, speaking of Coetzee's novel Disgrace stated that "South Africa is not only a place of rape".[21] In 1999, the African National Congress submission to an investigation into racism in the media by the South African Human Rights Commission named Disgrace as a novel exploiting racist stereotypes.[55] However, when Coetzee won his Nobel Prize, Mbeki congratulated him "on behalf of the South African nation and indeed the continent of Africa".[56]

Criticism of anti-terrorism laws

In 2005, Coetzee criticised contemporary anti-terrorism laws as resembling those employed by the apartheid regime in South Africa: "I used to think that the people who created [South Africa's] laws that effectively suspended the rule of law were moral barbarians. Now I know they were just pioneers ahead of their time".[57] The main character in Coetzee's 2007 Diary of a Bad Year, which has been described as blending "memoir with fiction, academic criticism with novelistic narration" and refusing "to recognize the border that has traditionally separated political theory from fictional narrative",[58] shares similar concerns about the policies of John Howard and George W. Bush.[59]



Fictionalised autobiography / autrebiography

  • Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Life (1997) ISBN 0-14-026566-X
  • Youth: Scenes from Provincial Life II (2002) ISBN 0-670-03102-X
  • Summertime (2009) ISBN 1-846-55318-0


  • White Writing: On the Culture of Letters in South Africa (1988) ISBN 0-300-03974-3
  • Doubling the Point: Essays and Interviews (1992) ISBN 0-674-21518-4
  • Giving Offense: Essays on Censorship (1996), University of Chicago Press [hence, US spelling "offense"] ISBN 0-226-11176-8
  • Stranger Shores: Literary Essays, 1986-1999 (2002) ISBN 0-142-00137-6
  • Inner Workings: Literary Essays, 2000-2005 (2007) ISBN 0-099-50614-9

Translations and introductions

  • A Posthumous Confession by Marcellus Emants (Boston: Twayne, 1976 & London: Quartet, 1986) Translated by J. M. Coetzee.
  • The Expedition to the Boabab Tree by Wilma Stockenström (Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 1983 & London: Faber, 1984) Translated by J. M. Coetzee.
  • Landscape with Rowers: Poetry from the Netherlands Translated and Introduced by J. M. Coetzee (2004) ISBN 0-691-12385-3
  • Introduction to Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (Oxford World's Classics) ISBN 0-192-10033-5
  • Introduction to Brighton Rock by Graham Greene (Penguin Classics) ISBN 0-142-43797-2
  • Introduction to Dangling Man by Saul Bellow (Penguin Classics) ISBN 0-143-03987-3

Book reviews

Reviews Martha Dow Fehsenfeld and Lois More Overbeck (eds) (2009). The Letters of Samuel Beckett, Volume 1: 1929–1940. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521867932.  

Film and TV adaptations

See also


  1. ^ Sangster, Catherine (2009-09-14). "How to Say: JM Coetzee and other Booker authors". BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/2009/09/how_to_say_3.shtml. Retrieved 2009-10-01.  
  2. ^ Attridge, Derek (2004). J. M. Coetzee and the Ethics of Reading: Literature in the Event. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 94. ISBN 9780226031170.  
  3. ^ Richards Cooper, Rand (1997-11-02). "Portrait of the writer as an Afrikaner". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1997/11/02/books/portrait-of-the-writer-as-an-afrikaner.html. Retrieved 2009-10-09.  
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Head, Dominic (2009). The Cambridge Introduction to J. M. Coetzee. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–2. ISBN 0521687098.  
  5. ^ a b c d Price, Jonathan (Autumn 2000). "J.M. Coetzee". Emory University. http://www.english.emory.edu/Bahri/Coetzee.html. Retrieved 2009-08-01.  
  6. ^ "A Nobel calling: 100 years of controversy". The Independent. 2005-10-14. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/a-nobel-calling-100-years-of-controversy-510876.html. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  7. ^ "Na polski trop naprowadził go pradziad" (in Polish). PAP: Nauka w Polsce. 2006-06-16. http://www.eduskrypt.pl/na_polski_trop_naprowadzil_go_pradziad-info-1801.html. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  8. ^ Lowry, Elizabeth (2007-08-22). "J. M. Coetzee's ruffled mirrors". Times Literary Supplement (London). http://tls.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,25339-2648841,00.html. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  9. ^ Easton, John; Friedman, Allan; Harms, William; Koppes, Steve; Sanders, Seth (2003-09-23). "Faculty receive DSPs, named professorships". University of Chicago Chronicle. http://chronicle.uchicago.edu/030925/dsp-named.shtml. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  10. ^ a b "Professor John "JM" COETZEE". Who's Who of Southern Africa. http://www.whoswhosa.co.za/Pages/profilefull.aspx?IndID=5422. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  11. ^ a b c "J. M. Coetzee". The Nobel Foundation. 2003. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2003/coetzee-bio.html. Retrieved 2009-08-01.  
  12. ^ Gallagher, Susan (1991). A Story of South Africa: J. M. Coetzee's Fiction in Context. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. p. 194. ISBN 0674839722.  
  13. ^ Scanlan, Margaret (1997). "Incriminating documents: Nechaev and Dostoevsky in J. M. Coetzee's The Master of St Petersburg". Philological Quarterly 76 (4): 463–477.  
  14. ^ Pearlman, Mickey (2005-09-18). "J.M. Coetzee again sheds light on the 'black gloom' of isolation". Star Tribune: p. 14F.  
  15. ^ Massie, Allan (2002-04-27). "Book review: Youth by JM Coetzee". The Scotsman. http://living.scotsman.com/Register.aspx?ReturnURL=http%3A%2F%2Fliving.scotsman.com%2Ffeatures%2FBOOK-REVIEW-Youth-by-JM.2322061.jp. Retrieved 2009-10-09.  
  16. ^ "A rare interview with literary giant J. M. Coetzee". Buffalo News: p. E1. 2002-10-13.  
  17. ^ a b c "JM Coetzee becomes an Australian citizen". Mail & Guardian. 2006-03-06. http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=265916&area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__national/. Retrieved 2007-08-18.  
  18. ^ "Professor Dorothy Driver". University of Adelaide. http://www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/dorothy.driver. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  19. ^ Richmond, Chris (2007). "John M. Coetzee". in Badge, Peter. Nobel Faces: A Gallery of Nobel Prize Winners. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. pp. 428–429. ISBN 3527406786. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=SRD2K80JYpYC&lpg=PA428&ots=8ED4BS-rnY&dq=Committee%20on%20Social%20Thought%20Coetzee%202003&pg=PA428#v=onepage&q=&f=false.  
  20. ^ a b "The reclusive Nobel Prize winner: J. M. Coetzee". South African Tourism. http://www.southafrica.net/sat/content/en/us/full-article?oid=16723&sn=Detail&pid=7744. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  21. ^ a b Pienaar, Hans (2003-10-03). "Brilliant yet aloof, Coetzee at last wins Nobel prize for literature". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/brilliant-yet-aloof-coetzee-at-last-wins-nobel-prize-for-literature-581951.html. Retrieved 2009-08-01.  
  22. ^ Smith, Sandra (2003-10-07). "What to say about ... JM Coetzee". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2003/oct/07/theeditorpressreview.jmcoetzee. Retrieved 2009-08-01.  
  23. ^ Cowley, Jason (1999-10-25). "The New Statesman Profile - J M Coetzee". New Stateman. http://www.newstatesman.com/199910250011. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  24. ^ Bray, Nancy. "How The First Chapter Series was born". Booker Prize Foundation. http://www.themanbookerprize.com/perspective/articles/1198. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  25. ^ Coetzee, J. M. (2007-02-22). "Animals can't speak for themselves — it's up to us to do it". The Age. http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/animals-cant-speak-for-themselves--its-up-to-us/2007/02/21/1171733841769.html. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  26. ^ Coetzee, J. M. (2007-02-22). "A word from J.M. Coetzee — Voiceless: I feel therefore I am". Voiceless. http://www.voiceless.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=410&Itemid=369. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  27. ^ "About us". Voiceless. http://www.voiceless.org.au/About_Us/Misc/About_Us.html. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  28. ^ "JM Coetzee on animal rights". Food24. http://www.food24.com/Food24/Components/F24_Cuisine_Scene_Article/0,,1-12-14-65_12940,00.html. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  29. ^ Lake, Ed (2009-08-01). "Starry-eyed Booker Prize". The National. http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090802/ART/708019974/1007. Retrieved 2009-08-01.  
  30. ^ a b O'Neil, Patrick M. (2004). Great World Writers: Twentieth Century. London: Marshall Cavendish. pp. 225–244. ISBN 0761474684. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=WWMyyHvajoEC&lpg=PA229&ots=sG7rQtR1NU&dq=faber%20memorial%20prize%20coetzee&pg=PA229#v=onepage&q=&f=false.  
  31. ^ Banville, John (2003-10-16). "Being and nothingness". The Nation. http://www.thenation.com/doc/20031103/banville. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  32. ^ a b c d Killam, Douglas; Kerfoot, Alicia L. (2007). "Coetzee, J(ohn) M(axwell)". Student Encyclopedia of African Literature. Westport, CT: Greenwood. pp. 92–93. ISBN 031333580X. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=hhGcVjjHTdkC&lpg=PA92&ots=9b0OcTx0Jz&dq=jm%20coetzee%20strathclyde%20honorary&pg=PA92#v=onepage&q=&f=false.  
  33. ^ a b "J M Coetzee". Booker Prize Foundation. http://www.themanbookerprize.com/prize/authors/24. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  34. ^ a b "Coetzee, getting prize, denounces apartheid". New York Times. 1987-04-11. http://www.nytimes.com/1987/04/11/arts/coetzee-getting-prize-denounces-apartheid.html. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  35. ^ Gibbons, Fiachra (1999-10-26). "Absent Coetzee wins surprise second Booker award". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/1999/oct/26/fiachragibbons. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  36. ^ Brown, Mark (2009-07-28). "Heavyweights clash on Booker longlist". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/jul/28/heavyweights-clash-booker-longlist. Retrieved 2009-08-01.  
  37. ^ Flood, Alison (2009-07-29). "Coetzee leads the bookies' Booker race". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/jul/29/booker-prize-jmcoetzee. Retrieved 2009-08-01.  
  38. ^ Langley, William (2009-09-04). "Man Booker Prize: J.M Coetzee profile". Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/books-life/6138481/Man-Booker-Prize-J.M-Coetzee-profile.html. Retrieved 2009-09-08.  
  39. ^ "Mantel named Booker prize winner". BBC News. 2009-10-06. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8292488.stm. Retrieved 2009-10-06.  
  40. ^ "Coetzee wins Nobel literature prize". BBC News. 2003-10-02. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/3158278.stm. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  41. ^ a b "Coetzee receives Nobel honour". BBC News. 2003-12-10. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/3305847.stm. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  42. ^ a b "The Nobel Prize in Literature: John Maxwell Coetzee". Swedish Academy. 2003-10-02. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2003/press.html. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  43. ^ "The Order of Mapungubwe in Gold". The Presidency, Republic of South Africa. http://www.thepresidency.gov.za/orders_list.asp?show=69. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  44. ^ "JM Coetzee receives honorary doctorate". University of Adelaide. 2005-12-20. http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/news8841.html. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  45. ^ "Honorary degrees". La Trobe University. http://www.latrobe.edu.au/eap/degrees.html. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  46. ^ "John M. Coetzee". University of Texas at Austin. http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/awards/alumnus/awardpages/j_coetzee.html. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  47. ^ "Oxford honours arts figures". BBC News. 2002-06-21. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/2054507.stm. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  48. ^ "SA writer honoured by Rhodes". Daily Dispatch. 1999-04-12. http://www.dispatch.co.za/1999/04/12/easterncape/HONOURED.HTM. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  49. ^ "New honour for Nobel laureate". University of Technology, Sydney. 2008-10-01. http://www.newsroom.uts.edu.au/news/detail.cfm?ItemId=12567. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  50. ^ Coetzee, J. M. (1992). Attwell, David. ed. Doubling the Point: Essays and Interviews. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA. p. 394. ISBN 0674215184. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=dZ7_o8ElbQoC&lpg=PP1&dq=doubling%20the%20point&pg=PA394#v=onepage&q=&f=false.  
  51. ^ a b Poyner, Jane, ed (2006). "J. M. Coetzee in conversation with Jane Poyner". J. M. Coetzee and the Idea of the Public Intellectual. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press. p. 22. ISBN 0821416871. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=BalLL9BL4acC&lpg=PA237&dq=%22J.%20M.%20Coetzee%20and%20the%20Ethics%20of%20Reading%3A%20Literature%20in%20the%20Event%22&pg=PA22#v=onepage&q=&f=false.  
  52. ^ Pfeil, Fred (1986-06-21). "Sexual healing". The Nation. http://www.thenation.com/archive/detail/12362753. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  53. ^ Diala, Isidore (2002). "Nadine Gordimer, J. M. Coetzee, and André Brink: Guilt, expiation, and the reconciliation process in post-apartheid South Africa". Journal of Modern Literature 25 (2): 50–68. doi:10.1353/jml.2003.0004.  
  54. ^ Poyner, Jane (2000). "Truth and reconciliation in JM Coetzee's Disgrace (novel)". Scrutiny2: Issues in English Studies in Southern Africa 5 (2): 67–77. doi:10.1080/18125440008565972.  
  55. ^ Jolly, Rosemary (2006). (novel) "Going to the dogs: Humanity in J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace, The Lives of Animals, and South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission". in Poyner, Jane. J. M. Coetzee and the Idea of the Public Intellectual. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press. p. 149. ISBN 0821416871. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=BalLL9BL4acC&lpg=PA103&ots=T-q6iMm8iH&dq=jm%20coetzee%20Disgrace (novel).  
  56. ^ Laurence, Patrick (2007-09-27). "JM Coetzee incites an ANC egg-dance". Helen Suzman Foundation. http://www.hsf.org.za/resource-centre/focus/issues-31-40/issue-32-fourth-quarter-2003/jm-coetzee-incites-an-anc-egg-dance. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  57. ^ "JM Coetzee joins criticism of Australia terror law plan". The Citizen. 2005-10-24. http://www.citizen.co.za/index/article.aspx?pDesc=9396,1,22. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  58. ^ Moses, Michael Valdez (July 2008). "State of discontent: J.M. Coetzee's anti-political fiction". Reason. http://www.reason.com/news/show/126870.html. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  59. ^ Hope, Deborah (2007-08-25). "Coetzee 'diary' targets PM". The Australian. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22303991-5001986,00.html. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Truth is not spoken in anger. Truth is spoken, if it ever comes to be spoken, in love.

John Maxwell Coetzee (born 1940-02-09), often called J.M. Coetzee, is a South African author (now living in Australia) and academic. A novelist and literary critic as well as a translator, Coetzee won the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature.



Disgrace (1999)

  • Although he devoted hours of each day to his new discipline, he finds its first premise, as enunciated in the Communications 101 handbook, preposterous: 'Human society has created language in order that we may communicate our thoughts, feelings, and intentions to each other.' His own opinion, which he does not air, is that the origins of speech lie in song, and the origins of song in the need to fill out with sound the overlarge and rather empty human soul.
    • p. 3-4
  • Isaacs has a cheap Bic pen in his hand. He runs his fingers down the shaft, inverts it, runs his fingers down the shaft, over and over, in a motion that is mechanical rather than impatient.
  • Talking to Petrus is like punching a bag of sand.

'Are you giving him up?' 'Yes, I am giving him up.'

Youth (2002)

  • At the Everyman Cinema there is a season of Satyajit Ray. He watches the Apu trilogy on successive nights in a state of rapt absorption. In Apu's bitter, trapped mother, his engaging, feckless father he recognizes, with a pang of guilt, his own parents. But it is the music above all that grips him, dizzyingly complex interplays between drums and stringed instruments, long arias on the flute whose scale or mode — he does not know enough about music theory to be sure which — catches at his heart, sending him into a mood of sensual melancholy that last long after the film has ended.
  • Hitherto he has found in Western music, in Bach above all, everything he needs. Now he encounters something that is not in Bach, though there are intimations of it: a joyous yielding of the reasoning, comprehending mind to the dance of the fingers. He hunts through record shops, and in one of them finds an LP of a sitar player named Ustad Vilayat Khan, with his brother — a younger brother, to judge from the picture — on a veena, and an unnamed tabla player. He does not have a gramophone of this own, but he is able to listen to the first ten minutes in the shop. It is all there: the hovering exploration of tone-sequences, the quivering emotion, the ecstatic rushes. He cannot believe his good fortune. A new continent and all for a mere nine shillings! He takes the record back to his room, packs it away between sleeves of cardboard till the day he will able to listen to it again.

Elizabeth Costello (2003)

  • She no longer believes very strongly in belief... Belief may be no more, in the end, than a source of energy, like a battery which one clips into an idea to make it run. As happens when one writes: believing whatever has to be believed in order to get the job done.

Slow Man (2004)

  • But truth is not spoken in anger. Truth is spoken, if it ever comes to be spoken, in love.
  • Can desire grow out of admiration, or are the two quite distinct species? What would it be like to lie side by side, naked, breast to breast, with a woman one principally admires?
  • 'Paul here is unhappy because unhappiness is second nature to him but more particularly because he has not the faintest idea of how to bring about his heart's desire. And I am unhappy because nothing is happening. Four people in four corners, moping, like tramps in Beckett, and myself in the middle, wasting time, being wasted by time.'
  • Why does love, even such love as he claims to practise, need the spectacle of beauty to bring it to life? What, in the abstract, do shapely legs have to do with love, or for that matter with desire? Or is that just the nature of nature, about which one does not ask questions?
  • 'Our lies reveal as much about us as our truths.'

Diary of a Bad Year (2007)

  • Someone should put together a ballet under the title Guantanamo, Guantanamo! A corps of prisoners, their ankles shackled together, thick felt mittens on their hands, muffs over their ears, black hoods over their heads, do the dances of the persecuted and the desperate. Around them, guards in olive green uniforms prance with demonic energy and glee, cattle prods and billy-clubs at the ready. They touch the prisoners with the prods and the prisoners leap; they wrestle prisoners to the ground and shove the clubs up their anuses and the prisoners go into spasms. In a corner, a man on stilts in a Donald Rumsfeld mask alternately writes at his lectern and dances ecstatic little jigs.

    One day it will be done, though not by me. It may even be a hit in London and Berlin and New York. It will have absolutely no effect on the people it targets, who could not care what ballet audiences think of them

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