'This volume gathers together for the first time in book form twenty-nine pieces on books, writing, photography and the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. Stranger Shores opens with What is a Classic? in which Coetzee explores the answer to his own question -'What does it mean in living terms to say that the classic is what survives?' -by way of TS Eliot, JS Bach and Zbigniew Herbert. His subjects range from eighteenth and nineteenth century writers Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson and Ivan Turgenev, to the great German modernists Rilke, Kafka, and Musil, to the giants of late twentieth century literature, among them Harry Mulisch, Joseph Brodsky, Jorge Luis Borges, Salman Rushdie, Amos Oz, Naguib Mahfouz, Nadine Gordimer and Doris Lessing.' (Publisher's summary)
'What Is a Classic?' was given as a lecture in Graz, Austria, in 1991, and published in Current Writing (1993).
The essay on Defoe first appeared as the introduction to the 1999 World's Classics edition of Robinson Crusoe and is reprinted by kind permission of Oxford University Press.
The essay on Rooke first appeared as an afterword to the 1991 Penguin edition of Mittee and is republished by kind permission of Penguin U.K.
The essay on Emants first appeared as the introduction to my translation of A Posthumous Confession (London: Quartet Books, 1986).
The essay on Paton first appeared in New Republic in 1990, that on Pringle in Research in African Literatures in 1990, and that on Gordimer and Turgenev in South African Literary History: Totality and/or Fragment, ed. Erhard Reckwitz, Karin Reitner, Lucia Vennarini (Essen: Die Blaue Eule, 1997).
The essay on Richardson was first given as a lecture at the University of Chicago in 1995.
All other essays first appeared in the New York Review of Books and are reprinted by kind permission of the publishers. Dates are as follows: Mostert, Suzman in 1993; Breytenbach in 1993 and 1999; Mahfouz, Lessing in 1994; Frank in 1995; Brodsky, Rushdie, Byatt, Skvorecky in 1996; Mulisch, Nooteboom, Phillips in 1997; Appelfeld, Oz, Kafka, Borges in 1998; Musil, Gass in 1999.