Strong Opinions: J.M. Coetzee and the Authority of Contemporary Fiction

By | July 8, 2011

Strong Opinions: J.M. Coetzee and the Authority of Contemporary Fiction, edited by Chris Danta, Sue Kossew, and Julian Murphet, argues that the Nobel Prize winning author’s writings, and particularly his post-apartheid and Australia-era fiction, are driven by a form of controlled exposure, a conscious unfolding of the literary-theoretical seams of his work. The essayists reflect on these forms of exposure: exposure of place, exposure of form, and exposure of limits. In doing so, they reveal the existential questions, especially with respect to literary realism, that Coetzee asks us to reconsider. Perhaps the foremost of these being:  is literary authority possible?

“A clearly focussed and helpful contribution to the demanding and as yet barely embarked-upon task of coming to terms with Coetzee's most recent writings.”—Stephen Mulhall, Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy, New College, University of Oxford, UK, and author of The Wounded Animal: J.M.Coetzee and the Difficulty of Reality in Literature and Philosophy  

“The essays in Strong Opinions, written by some of the top scholars in the field of Coetzee studies, work in productive ways to examine how Coetzee's writing, particularly his post-apartheid and Australia-era works, perform a position that not only questions the role of literature as authority but also deconstruct the very idea that literary authority is possible. These essays call to attention Coetzee's explicitly self-conscious act of story telling as his works navigate and negotiate specific locales, both literal and figurative.  And this collection, like the works that it examines, astutely pushes the limits of what literature and literary analysis can do and asks that we, as readers, explore a tenuous duality in Coetzee's fiction: the public duty of the writer to his audience and the private— and perhaps transcendent—duty of the artist to his conscience.”—Laura Wright, Associate Professor of English, Western Carolina University, USA, and author of Writing "Out of All the Camps": J.M. Coetzee's Narratives of Displacement  

Strong Opinions will publish in the US on 14 July and elsewhere on 15 September.

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