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Travelling Texts: J.M. Coetzee and Other Writers

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Robert Kusek and Bozena Kucala

Travelling Texts: J.M. Coetzee and Other Writers is a collection of essays on mutual influences and inspirations between authors, with a special focus on J.M. Coetzee. Bringing together a group of international scholars, the book offers a wide range of perspectives on how canonical and less canonical texts travel between literatures and cultures. Chapter One is devoted to connections between Coetzee’s writings and Polish literature and theatre. Chapter Two is concerned with Dostoevsky’s presence in his fiction. The essays in Chapter Three identify and analyse connections and inspirations between Coetzee and other European writers, with a special focus on Central Europe as a distinct cultural entity. The collection’s scope is extended by the essays in Chapter Four, which deal with several writers for whom Africa has been a source of inspiration.
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The Inner and Outer Workings of Translation Reception: Coetzee on (Wieniewska’s) Schulz

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Introduction: Coetzee on translation, Coetzee on Bruno Schulz

Already from the Contents pages of John Maxwell Coetzee’s non-fiction writings it becomes evident that their author is remarkably open to and appreciative of literary traditions other than his own, not only prolonging the lives of established world classics, but also introducing writers less known to Anglophone readers. Foreign names appear already in the 1992 collection of essays and interviews entitled Doubling the Point (Coetzee 1992) and feature prominently in Giving Offense: Essays on Censorship (Coetzee 1996) and Stranger Shores: Literary Essays 1986–1999 (Coetzee 2002). In the most recent of his collections of literary criticism, Inner Workings: Essays 2000–2005 (Coetzee 2008), twelve out of twenty-one essays are devoted to authors whose works were originally written in languages other than English.

Well-versed in several languages, in many cases Coetzee does not have to rely on translation to read the foreign authors he discusses. Yet the phenomenon of translation is clearly among his interests. Whether due to his earlier personal practice as a translator, or later experience of a widely translated author, or his general awareness of and sensitivity to the workings of language, stemming from his theoretical background in linguistics, the fact remains that Coetzee very often includes comments on various translation problems in his literary criticism. The most notable cases in point are two critical essays in which translation even made it to the title: “Translating Kafka”1 from Stranger Shores (2002: 74–87)...

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