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Between Illusionism and Anti-Illusionism

Self-Reflexivity in the Chosen Novels of J. M. Coetzee

Author(s): Marek Pawlicki

Book Description

Between Illusionism and Anti-Illusionism: Self-Reflexivity in the Chosen Novels of J. M. Coetzee takes as its premise J. M. Coetzee’s distinction between “illusionism” and “anti-illusionism”: the realist and the self-reflexive traditions in prose fiction. The aim of this critical study is to demonstrate that these two traditions are not opposed, but rather complementary to each other, and enrich the novel as a genre. Based on Marek Pawlicki’s doctoral thesis, the book is a detailed analysis of Coetzee’s oeuvre, paying particular attention to the impact of the writer’s literary essays on his fiction.

Insofar as it looks into the ways in which Coetzee’s work as a critic has affected his novels, this book deals with the relation between fiction and literary criticism. Chapter One is an introduction into the topic of self-reflexivity. Chapters Two to Five, devoted to Dusklands, In the Heart of the Country, Age of Iron and Summertime, are concerned with the issue of subjectivity in confessional discourse and the boundary between fiction and autobiography. Chapters Six to Eight, concentrating on Foe, Slow Man, The Master of Petersburg, and Elizabeth Costello, offer insight into Coetzee’s views on literary creation and the role of the writer in society. Between Illusionism and Anti-Illusionism also examines intertextual references in Coetzee’s novels to the works of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Kafka and Beckett.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-5304-0
ISBN-10: 1-4438-5304-6
Date of Publication: 01/12/2013
Pages / Size: 200 / A5
Price: £44.99


Marek Pawlicki graduated from the Institute of English Studies of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, in 2008. In 2012, he completed his PhD studies, with a thesis entitled “Self-Reflexivity in the Works of J. M. Coetzee.” He works at the Jagiellonian University and at the Neophilological Institute of the State School of Higher Education in Oświęcim. His current research interests include the works of J.M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer and self-reflexivity in contemporary Anglo-American fiction.