y Dusklands single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 1974 1974
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

"This work contains two novellas. In the first [The Vietnam Project], a specialist in psychological warfare is driven to murderous action by the stresses of a macabre project to win the Vietnam War, and in the second [The Narrative of Jacobus Coetzee], a megalomaniac Boer frontiersman wreaks hideous vengeance on a Hottentot tribe". (Source: Libraries Australia)

Notes

  • Epigraph:

    Obviously it is difficult not to sympathize with those European and American audience who, when shown films of fighter-bomber pilots visibly exhilarated by successful napalm bombing runs on Viet-Cong targets, react with horror and disgust. Yet, it is unreasonable to expect the U.S. Government to obtain pilots who are so appalled by the damage they may be doing that they cannot carry out their missions or become excessively depressed or guilt-ridden.

    Herman Kahn

  • Editions and translations have been updated for Dusklands by Eilish Copelin as part of a Semester 2, 2013 scholar's internship. The selection and inclusion of these editions and translations was based on their availability through Australian libraries, namely through the search facilities of Libraries Australia and Trove (National Library of Australia).

    Given the international popularity of Coetzee's work, however, this record is not yet comprehensive. Editions and translations not widely available in Australia may not have been indexed. Furthermore, due to the enormous breadth of critical material on Coetzee's work, indexing of secondary sources is also not complete.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Johannesburg,
      c
      South Africa,
      c
      Southern Africa, Africa,
      :
      Ravan Press , 1974 .
      Extent: 134p.
      ISBN: 0869750356
    • Harmondsworth, Middlesex,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Penguin Books , 1983 .
      Extent: 125p.
      ISBN: 0140071148
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Penguin Books , 1985 .
      Extent: 125p.
      ISBN: 0140071148, 9780140071146
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Penguin USA , 1985 .
      Extent: 144p.
      ISBN: 9780140241778, 0140241779
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Vintage , 1998 .
      ISBN: 0099268337
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Vintage , 2004 .
      Extent: 125p.
      ISBN: 9780099268338, 0099268337
Alternative title: Schemerlanden
Language: Dutch
    • Houten,
      c
      Netherlands,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Agathon , 1986 .
      4155660761644784319.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 157p.
      Edition info: 1st ed.
      ISBN: 9026950896, 9789026950896
    • Amsterdam,
      c
      Netherlands,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Cossee , 2004 .
      8330684329886296880.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 206p.
      Edition info: 2nd ed.
      ISBN: 9059360370, 9789059360372

Works about this Work

“A Face Without Personality” : Coetzee’s Swiftian Narrators Gillian Dooley , Robert Phiddian , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Ariel , July vol. 47 no. 3 2016; (p. 1-22)
'Much has been written about the complicated intertextual relationships between J. M. Coetzee’s novels and previous works by writers such as Franz Kafka, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Samuel Beckett, and, especially, Daniel Defoe. Relatively little has been written, in comparison, about any relationship between Coetzee and Defoe’s great contemporary, Jonathan Swift. We claim no extensive structural relationship between Coetzee’s novels and Swift’s works—nothing like the formal interlace between Robinson Crusoe and Foe, for example. We do claim, however, a strong and explicitly signalled likeness of narrative stance, marked especially by the ironic distance between author and protagonist in Gulliver’s Travels and Elizabeth Costello. We rehearse the extensive evidence of Coetzee’s attention to Swift (both in novels and criticism) and suggest that there is a Swiftian dimension to Coetzee’s oeuvre that is evident in several books, including Dusklands, Youth, Elizabeth Costello, and Diary of a Bad Year.' (Publication abstract)
Sven Hedin's “Vanished Country” : Setting and History in J.M. Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians, Hermann Wittenberg , Kate Highman , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Scrutiny2 , vol. 20 no. 1 2015; (p. 103-127)
'Since J.M. Coetzee’s manuscripts, notebooks and miscellaneous other archival materials have become available for study at the Harry Ransom Centre (HRC) in Texas in 2013, it has become possible to shed new light on one of the more enigmatic aspects of Coetzee’s early fictions, namely the origins of the setting and landscape of Waiting for the barbarians. With his previous two novels, Dusklands (1974) and In the heart of the country (1977), Coetzee had established himself as a significant avant-garde South African writer, but the next novel, Barbarians (1980), on the face of it, seemed to veer off-course as an engagement with the historical trauma of his country. When the book was published, readers and critics found Coetzee’s choice of a richly detailed yet seemingly invented non-South African setting both attractive and puzzling. Irvin Howe wrote in the New York times that the novel’s landscape was an “unspecified place and time, yet recognizable as a ‘universalised’ version of South Africa”, and Bernard Levin, in an influential London Sunday times review, thought that the story appeared to indict the repressive South African political situation, “[b] ut that beneath the surface it is timeless, spaceless, nameless and universal” (1980: n.p.). A reviewer in Newsweek thought that Coetzee’s “terrain is African” but that “subtle dislocations in time and geography, however, make it clear that his political parable is set in a mythical realm” (Clemons 1980: 55). Peter Lewis (1980: 1270) also recognized allusions to South Africa, but concluded that “the place cannot be located on any map”. In many critical responses there was a tension between a desire to read the novel as a South African narrative, and a simultaneous recognition of the story’s non-specific emplacement which transcended the political oppression of late apartheid. It was precisely the text’s sense of geographical and historical dislocatedness that made it a compelling reading experience, as for example articulated by Peter Wilhelm: “The strange landscapes, part-African, part a country of the mind; the sense of action and thought scarcely disturbing the flux of time; the crystalline lucidity of the language – these will haunt the reader long after the novel has been set aside” (cited in Kannemeyer 2012: 345). ' (Author's introduction)
Doubling the Point on Dusklands : J.M. Coetzee's Dogged Quest for a Post-Cartesian, Embodied and Inter-subjective Consciousness Damazio Mfune , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Scrutiny2 , vol. 19 no. 2 2014; (p. 71-82)
'n addition to what has been said about J.M. Coetzee's first and seminal novel since its publication in 1974, one could argue that, in some of his writings, Coetzee consistently contends that a Cartesian ontology could have been responsible for the legitimisation of a wide range of discriminatory and exploitative practices. Among the practices Coetzee singles out are political and economic colonialism, ecological colonialism and gender discrimination. From the seventeenth century onwards, the Cartesian outlook has dominated Western thinking and praxis. Coupled with biological and social Darwinism, and Hegelian phenomenology, these ushered in a highly mechanised, but instrumentalist and utterly morally deficient and alienating era in human history. In book after book, through a series of Cartesian characters whom he invariably satirises, Coetzee delineates the Cartesian trajectory and its consequences, but also explores ways of transcending this illusory ontology. Part of this exploration involves the possibility of an embodied and inter-subjective consciousness which arises from, and is capable of, both the sympathetic and empathetic imagination. These forms of imagination – which are at the centre of an understanding of inter-subjectivity – are seen as a counter to the alienating and brutalising consequences of a Cartesian ontology. What may need emphasising, however, is that discrimination and exploitation are not a preserve of a Cartesian ontology; they are consequences of our ignorance of the constitution of a proper and valid process of consciousness-formation and they manifest themselves in such practices as regionalism, ethnicity, tribalism and sexism. However, because in Dusklands Coetzee deals with the larger geo/eco-politics, my analysis will also go along with his trajectory.' (Publication abstract)
“What Used to Lie Outside the Frame” : Boundaries of Photography, Subjectivity and Fiction in Three Novels by J.M. Coetzee Ayala Amir , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Literary Studies , vol. 29 no. 4 2013; (p. 58-79)
'The concept of frame and its inherent tensions, as addressed by contemporary thinking, is the theoretical focus of this article, which examines representations of photography in three of J.M. Coetzee’s novels (Dusklands ([1974]1983), Age of Iron (1990) and Slow Man (2005)). Photography is treated as a site where Coetzee explores the issues that preoccupy him throughout his work: subjectivity, its boundaries and the possibility of intersubjectivity in relation to the very act of storytelling. The article offers a metaphorical reading of such elements of photography as the blow-up, the negative and digital photography in order to reflect upon Coetzee’s engagement with the possibility of openness to transformation, otherness and futurity implied by both the photographic frame and intersubjectivity in life as well as in fiction.' (Author's abstract)
Rewriting History : Animality In J.M. Coetzee's Dusklands And Richard Flanagan's Wanting Brian Daniel Deyo , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Ariel , vol. 44 no. 4 2013; (p. 89-116)

'This article examines two works of fiction that speculatively rewrite settler histories in South Africa and Australia, J.M. Coetzee’s Dusklands and Richard Flanagan’s Wanting. In the interest of critically addressing the silences, elisions, and ideological simplifications of imperialist histories of the colonial encounter, both texts imaginatively attend to the lived experiences of European settlers and indigenous peoples during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In their respective accounts of the colonial encounter, Coetzee and Flanagan represent how racist, anthropocentric, and ecophobic mentalities are unsettled by affective intensities that instantiate the body’s resistance to the political, economic, social, and religious logics of colonialism. Both authors coordinate the body’s resistance with animality, which in its turn is posited as a kind of affective power that has the potential to ethically and aesthetically reconfigure the human-animal binary of western discourse. Inasmuch as they rewrite history, imaginatively recuperate the value of indigenous sensibilities, and positively reinscribe human animality, this essay proposes that Coetzee and Flanagan attempt to resituate the human ecologically.' (Publication summary)

“What Used to Lie Outside the Frame” : Boundaries of Photography, Subjectivity and Fiction in Three Novels by J.M. Coetzee Ayala Amir , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Literary Studies , vol. 29 no. 4 2013; (p. 58-79)
'The concept of frame and its inherent tensions, as addressed by contemporary thinking, is the theoretical focus of this article, which examines representations of photography in three of J.M. Coetzee’s novels (Dusklands ([1974]1983), Age of Iron (1990) and Slow Man (2005)). Photography is treated as a site where Coetzee explores the issues that preoccupy him throughout his work: subjectivity, its boundaries and the possibility of intersubjectivity in relation to the very act of storytelling. The article offers a metaphorical reading of such elements of photography as the blow-up, the negative and digital photography in order to reflect upon Coetzee’s engagement with the possibility of openness to transformation, otherness and futurity implied by both the photographic frame and intersubjectivity in life as well as in fiction.' (Author's abstract)
Rewriting History : Animality In J.M. Coetzee's Dusklands And Richard Flanagan's Wanting Brian Daniel Deyo , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Ariel , vol. 44 no. 4 2013; (p. 89-116)

'This article examines two works of fiction that speculatively rewrite settler histories in South Africa and Australia, J.M. Coetzee’s Dusklands and Richard Flanagan’s Wanting. In the interest of critically addressing the silences, elisions, and ideological simplifications of imperialist histories of the colonial encounter, both texts imaginatively attend to the lived experiences of European settlers and indigenous peoples during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In their respective accounts of the colonial encounter, Coetzee and Flanagan represent how racist, anthropocentric, and ecophobic mentalities are unsettled by affective intensities that instantiate the body’s resistance to the political, economic, social, and religious logics of colonialism. Both authors coordinate the body’s resistance with animality, which in its turn is posited as a kind of affective power that has the potential to ethically and aesthetically reconfigure the human-animal binary of western discourse. Inasmuch as they rewrite history, imaginatively recuperate the value of indigenous sensibilities, and positively reinscribe human animality, this essay proposes that Coetzee and Flanagan attempt to resituate the human ecologically.' (Publication summary)

Doubling the Point on Dusklands : J.M. Coetzee's Dogged Quest for a Post-Cartesian, Embodied and Inter-subjective Consciousness Damazio Mfune , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Scrutiny2 , vol. 19 no. 2 2014; (p. 71-82)
'n addition to what has been said about J.M. Coetzee's first and seminal novel since its publication in 1974, one could argue that, in some of his writings, Coetzee consistently contends that a Cartesian ontology could have been responsible for the legitimisation of a wide range of discriminatory and exploitative practices. Among the practices Coetzee singles out are political and economic colonialism, ecological colonialism and gender discrimination. From the seventeenth century onwards, the Cartesian outlook has dominated Western thinking and praxis. Coupled with biological and social Darwinism, and Hegelian phenomenology, these ushered in a highly mechanised, but instrumentalist and utterly morally deficient and alienating era in human history. In book after book, through a series of Cartesian characters whom he invariably satirises, Coetzee delineates the Cartesian trajectory and its consequences, but also explores ways of transcending this illusory ontology. Part of this exploration involves the possibility of an embodied and inter-subjective consciousness which arises from, and is capable of, both the sympathetic and empathetic imagination. These forms of imagination – which are at the centre of an understanding of inter-subjectivity – are seen as a counter to the alienating and brutalising consequences of a Cartesian ontology. What may need emphasising, however, is that discrimination and exploitation are not a preserve of a Cartesian ontology; they are consequences of our ignorance of the constitution of a proper and valid process of consciousness-formation and they manifest themselves in such practices as regionalism, ethnicity, tribalism and sexism. However, because in Dusklands Coetzee deals with the larger geo/eco-politics, my analysis will also go along with his trajectory.' (Publication abstract)
Sven Hedin's “Vanished Country” : Setting and History in J.M. Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians, Hermann Wittenberg , Kate Highman , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Scrutiny2 , vol. 20 no. 1 2015; (p. 103-127)
'Since J.M. Coetzee’s manuscripts, notebooks and miscellaneous other archival materials have become available for study at the Harry Ransom Centre (HRC) in Texas in 2013, it has become possible to shed new light on one of the more enigmatic aspects of Coetzee’s early fictions, namely the origins of the setting and landscape of Waiting for the barbarians. With his previous two novels, Dusklands (1974) and In the heart of the country (1977), Coetzee had established himself as a significant avant-garde South African writer, but the next novel, Barbarians (1980), on the face of it, seemed to veer off-course as an engagement with the historical trauma of his country. When the book was published, readers and critics found Coetzee’s choice of a richly detailed yet seemingly invented non-South African setting both attractive and puzzling. Irvin Howe wrote in the New York times that the novel’s landscape was an “unspecified place and time, yet recognizable as a ‘universalised’ version of South Africa”, and Bernard Levin, in an influential London Sunday times review, thought that the story appeared to indict the repressive South African political situation, “[b] ut that beneath the surface it is timeless, spaceless, nameless and universal” (1980: n.p.). A reviewer in Newsweek thought that Coetzee’s “terrain is African” but that “subtle dislocations in time and geography, however, make it clear that his political parable is set in a mythical realm” (Clemons 1980: 55). Peter Lewis (1980: 1270) also recognized allusions to South Africa, but concluded that “the place cannot be located on any map”. In many critical responses there was a tension between a desire to read the novel as a South African narrative, and a simultaneous recognition of the story’s non-specific emplacement which transcended the political oppression of late apartheid. It was precisely the text’s sense of geographical and historical dislocatedness that made it a compelling reading experience, as for example articulated by Peter Wilhelm: “The strange landscapes, part-African, part a country of the mind; the sense of action and thought scarcely disturbing the flux of time; the crystalline lucidity of the language – these will haunt the reader long after the novel has been set aside” (cited in Kannemeyer 2012: 345). ' (Author's introduction)
“A Face Without Personality” : Coetzee’s Swiftian Narrators Gillian Dooley , Robert Phiddian , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Ariel , July vol. 47 no. 3 2016; (p. 1-22)
'Much has been written about the complicated intertextual relationships between J. M. Coetzee’s novels and previous works by writers such as Franz Kafka, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Samuel Beckett, and, especially, Daniel Defoe. Relatively little has been written, in comparison, about any relationship between Coetzee and Defoe’s great contemporary, Jonathan Swift. We claim no extensive structural relationship between Coetzee’s novels and Swift’s works—nothing like the formal interlace between Robinson Crusoe and Foe, for example. We do claim, however, a strong and explicitly signalled likeness of narrative stance, marked especially by the ironic distance between author and protagonist in Gulliver’s Travels and Elizabeth Costello. We rehearse the extensive evidence of Coetzee’s attention to Swift (both in novels and criticism) and suggest that there is a Swiftian dimension to Coetzee’s oeuvre that is evident in several books, including Dusklands, Youth, Elizabeth Costello, and Diary of a Bad Year.' (Publication abstract)
Last amended 8 Jan 2015 14:38:57
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