Edited By Jadwiga Wegrodzka
Counterfactual model of the self: J.M. Coetzee’s Summertime
Counterfactual model of the self in J.M. Coetzee’s Summertime
As an exercise, let’s imagine a character who is a contemporary writer.
Max Apple, Post-Modernism
It should be noted that Summertime is not the first novel in J.M. Coetzee’s ouvre in which he romances with the notion of autofiction. Firstly, the novel’s subtitle, “Scenes from Provincial Life”, establishes an unmistakable connection with Boyhood and Youth, two previous works fitted with the very same referencing device. These novels recreate real-world Coetzee through fiction, albeit under a much younger guise. What follows, one of the impending results was their equivocal branding – both texts were posited at one time under the category of memoir/nonfiction and then under the label of fiction. To a large extent, all of this is true for Summertime as well. Secondly, Diary of a Bad Year from 2007 can also be considered from the perspective of autofiction being a novel in many ways much more extensive and important to the present consideration, built on Señor C’s – an ageing Sydney resident – musings upon real-world events and their implications. In fact, even Coetzee’s first novel, Dusklands, exhibits inklings of historiography in the figure of Jacobus Coetzee and his narrative, particularly since the story is structured by means of authentic and fabricated documents.
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