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Post-Colonial Literature: J.M. Coetzee

ENGL 595.301
instructor(s):
W 9-12

 

In this course we will consider all the major works of the South African novelist and Nobel Prize-winner, J.M. Coetzee, as well as the literary, theoretical, and political issues they raise. The reading list will include Dusklands, In the Heart of the Country, Waiting for the Barbarians, Life and Times of Michael K, Foe, Age of Iron, The Master of Petersburg, Disgrace, the memoirs Boyhood, and Coetzee’s most recent work, Diary of a Bad Year. We will also study Coetzee’s wide-ranging academic writing, which addresses issues like colonial discourse, confession, autobiography, censorship, torture, the ideology of apartheid, realism, authorship and authority, animal rights, the nature of the “classic,” and so forth. We will examine Coetzee’s complex, elusive, and critical relationship to South African literature and history, as well as his significance in the broader international context: his relationship to writers like Kafka, Beckett, Nabakov, Dostoyevsky, and more generally, to modernism, postmodernism, and postcolonialism. The Coetzee seminar, in short, should be of interest to graduate students with a wide-range of specialities. Modernists, eighteenth-century folks, comparatists, theorists, postcolonialists, feminists, and Africanists are all welcome. Requirements: an oral presentation on an assigned topics and a final essay on a topic of the student’s own choosing.