Tag Archives: JM Coetzee

WG Sebald: Bibliography of Secondary Literature

In the next few days I’ll draw to a close my present immersion into Sebald’s work, leaving The Natural History of Destruction, Campo Santo, Across the Land and the Water, Unrecounted and For Years Now for another day.It’ll prolong the … Continue reading

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Some Well-Intentioned Reading Ideas for 2015 (updated)

These are not reading resolutions. Writers promising literary gifts lead me astray too easily for these ideas to be fixed in any way. This year I read widely covering fifty or so writers, concentrating my reading more deeply only twice on … Continue reading

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Language and Style

Ideas are certainly important-who would deny that?-but the fact is, the ideas that operate in novels and poems, once they are unpicked from their context and laid out on the laboratory table, usually turn out to be uncomplicated, even banal, … Continue reading

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Beckett’s Secret

Coetzee on Beckett (1992): Beckett has meant a great deal to me in my own writing – that must be obvious. He is a clear influence on my prose. […] The essays I wrote on Beckett’s style aren’t only academic … Continue reading

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Coetzee’s The Master of Petersburg

Such darkness in Coetzee’s The Master of Petersburg, ostensibly the tale of a haunted, fictionalised Dostoevsky returning to nineteenth century St Petersburg to mourn and collect the papers of a dead stepson, who has apparently become the political tool of … Continue reading

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Reading Coetzee’s Age of Iron

In the late eighties, the professor in charge of our research group invited us regularly to his Muswell Hill house for debates that would often extend, over dope and Rioja, into the next morning. Let’s call him Richard, it is … Continue reading

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The Stupor of Power

It is hard, perhaps impossible, not to be cynical about politicians. Our institutions have singularly failed us, repeatedly. As the man credited with the title of first anarchist, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, wrote: To be ruled is to be kept an eye … Continue reading

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Circumnavigation and Coetzee’s Foe.

One mild summer in the late eighties, with limited resources and no compelling responsibilities, I set out to circumnavigate the 11,073 miles or about 17,820 kilometres that make up the coastline of Great Britain. At the time my only foray … Continue reading

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A Stranger’s Embrace

We yield to a stranger’s embrace or give ourselves to the waves; for the blink of an eyelid our vigilance relaxes; we are asleep; and when we awake, we have lost the direction of our lives. What are these blinks … Continue reading

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Time’s Passing

It was an interview with Philip Larkin that commandeered my night, not the interview itself which is mostly unremarkable, nor the appeal of Larkin, which in my case is negligible. It was his reply to a trite question about his … Continue reading

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