What Has Coetzee Got to Say about Ecology

2003 Nobel Laureate in Literature J.M. Coetzee was born in South Africa in 1940. He  began writing fiction in 1969. His first book, Dusklands, was published in South Africa in 1974. In the Heart of the Country (1977) won South Africa's then principal literary award, the CNA Prize, and was published in Britain and the USA. Waiting for the Barbarians (1980) received international notice. His reputation was confirmed by Life & Times of Michael K (1983), which won Britain's Booker Prize. It was followed by Foe (1986), Age of Iron (1990), The Master of Petersburg (1994), and Disgrace (1999), which again won the Booker Prize.
Coetzee also wrote two fictionalized memoirs, Boyhood (1997) and Youth (2002). The Lives of Animals (1999) is a fictionalized lecture, later absorbed into Elizabeth Costello (2003). White Writing (1988) is a set of essays on South African literature and culture. Doubling the Point (1992) consists of essays and interviews with David Attwell. Giving Offense (1996) is a study of literary censorship. Stranger Shores (2001) collects his later literary essays. He has been a collegiate since 1968, taught in Australia and the States, became Distinguished Professor of Literature at the University of Capetown in 2000.
As part of the Cultures Civilizations and Ideas Colloquium Series Assoc. Prof. Dr. Donald Randall, a distinguished faculty member of the Faculty of Humanities and Letters, Department of English Language and Literature Department, presents a talk entitled, Eco-Postcolonialism: the case of J. M. Coetzee, on November 2nd, Wednesday. The talk will take place in G-160, at 17:10.
Dr Randall will focus most closely on Disgrace (1999) and Elizabeth Costello (2002), in his talk. He is going to argue that Coetzee greatly extends the bounds of ethical concern, reconceiving the community of fellowship and responsibility not in exclusively human terms, but as a community of
sentient beings.  Coetzee, a key author in the field of postcolonial
literary and cultural studies thus places outside the realm of debate the old questions
pertaining to the human community and its responsibilities, questions which, in the
era of Euro-imperialism, were all too typically skewed by notions of human
hierarchy, or by the assertion that members of certain ethnic or racial groups were
somehow less than human or not fully human. Greater justice in the workings of human
collectives, Coetzee suggests, can only be achieved through a richer, more
intimately engaged relationship with the living world.
This is going to be another inspiring, “not-to-be-missed” talk by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Donald Randall. All those interested are welcome.

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