J. M. Coetzee

The importance of J. M. Coetzee in the development of twentieth-century fiction is now widely recognised. His work addresses some of the key critical issues of our time: the relationship between postmodernism and postcolonialism, the role of history in the novel, and, repeatedly, the question of how the author can combine an ethical and political consciousness with a commitment to the novel as a work of fiction. In this study, which may be used as an introduction and by those already familiar with Coetzee’s work, Dominic Head assesses Coetzee’s position as a white South African writer engaged with the legacy of colonialism. Through close readings of all the novels, Head shows how Coetzee inhabits a transitional site between Europe and Africa, and it is from this position that his more general concerns emerge. Coetzee’s engagement with the problems facing the postcolonial writer, Head argues, is always enriched by his awareness of a wider literary tradition.

• Full evaluation of Cotezee’s achievement to date • Offers close readings of each of the novels • Comprises introductory study for students and more advanced study for researchers


1. The writer’s place: Coetzee and postcolonial literature; 2. Writing violence: Dusklands; 3. The wrong kind of love: In the Heart of the Country; 4. An ethical awakening: Waiting for the Barbarians; 5. Gardening as resistance: Life and Times of Michael K; 6. The maze of doubting: Foe; 7. A true confession: Age of Iron; 8. Producing the demon: The Master of Petersburg; Notes; Bibliography; Index.


\'Dominic Head\'s monograph on J. M. Coetzee is an excellent in-depth study of the novels, from which specialists and more general readers alike are stand to gain important insights into the complex make-up of the author\'s texts.\' Zeitschrift für Anglistik unk Amerikanistik