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J.M. Coetzee and the Authority of Contemporary Fiction
This new collection of essays on Coetzee examines how his novels create and unsettle literary authority. Its unique contribution is to show how Coetzee provokes us into reconsidering certain basic formal and existential questions such as the nature of literary realism, the authority of the author and the constitution of the human self in a posthumanist setting by consciously revealing the literary-theoretical seams of his work. Strong Opinions makes the innovative claim that Coetzee's work is driven not by a sense of scepticism or nihilism but rather by a form of controlled exposure that defines the literary. The essays in the volume variously draw attention to three of Coetzee's most recent and significant experiments in controlled exposure. The first is the exposure of place-Coetzee's decision to set his novels in his newly adopted country of Australia. The second is the exposure of form-Coetzee's direct, almost essayistic address of literary-philosophical topics within his novels. And the third is the exposure of limits-Coetzee's explicit deconstruction of the traditional limits of human life.