J. M. Coetzee was the recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature. He once taught briefly at SUNY at Buffalo so there’s a local connection. Coetzee’s essays show he’s a thoughtful reader. In “What is a classic?” Coetzee addresses the question of why some books last and hold their readership while others disappear. I enjoyed Coetzee’s essays on major writers like DeFoe, Richardson, Kafka, Dostoevsky, Borges, and Byatt. Coetzee’s taste for world literature includes writers I was not familiar with like Emants, Mulisch, Nooteboom, Skvorecky, Phillips, Appelfeld, and Pringle (although I have enjoyed many Pringles!). If you’re in the mood for reading some intelligent literary essays, I highly recommend Stranger Shores. GRADE: A
What is a classic? : a lecture 1
Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe 17
Samuel Richardson, Clarissa 23
Marcellus Emants, a posthumous confession 34
Harry Mulisch, the discovery of heaven 39
Cees Nooteboom, novelist and traveler 49
William Gass’s Rilke 60
Translating Kafka 74
Robert Musil’s diaries 88
Josef Skvorecky 104
Dostoevsky : the miraculous years 114
The essays of Joseph Brodsky 127
J.L. Borges, collected fictions 139
A.S. Byatt 151
Caryl Phillips 160
Salman Rushdie, the moor’s last sigh 169
Aharon Appelfeld, the iron tracks 179
Amos Oz 184
Naguib Mahfouz, the harafish 191
The poems of Thomas Pringle 203
Daphne Rooke 208
Gordimer and Turgenev 219
The autobiography of Doris Lessing 232
The memoirs of Breyten Breytenbach 249
South African Liberals : Alan Paton, Helen Suzman 261
Noël Mostert and the eastern Cape frontier 272
Notes 282

8 thoughts on “STRANGER SHORES: LITERARY ESSAYS (1986-1999) By J. M. Coetzee

  1. Jeff Meyerson

    Good one (about Pringles). I’ve read some of his stories (of course), but none of his novels. I will look for this. I’m sure you know that he has two more recent collections of his literary essays (INNER WORKINGS and LATE ESSAYS).

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, I’m reading Coetzee’s LATE ESSAYS right now. My review of INNER WORKINGS will be up on this blog in a month or so.


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