J.M. Coetzee: A Critical Biography

The Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee is currently South Africa’s most resourceful and influential writer. While his roots lie in the Western Cape and Karoo in particular, his intellectual reach embraces Western and Central Europe and much of the United States. His fiction and nonfiction are read and studied throughout the world, from Rio to Beijing, and they are frequently regarded as definitive in current debates in postcolonial and world literature. His influence is felt in the fields of fiction studies, comparative literature, translation, literary theory, aesthetic philosophy and ethics. Following the recent acquisition of 155 boxes of his papers by the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, this project is aimed at producing a critical biography. Following in the footsteps of John Kannemeyer’s first biography, a study of the author’s life and work, the project will continue the exploration into the intellectual contexts of Coetzee’s writing, with particular emphasis on the relationship between literature and the social and political history of South Africa.

Project leader(s):
  • David Attwell (York)