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'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 (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)
'This article points to the 17th-century Spanish writer, Miguel de Cervantes, as one important literary predecessor of the contemporary South African writer, J.M. Coetzee, a relation that has generally passed unnoticed among critics. This relation is brought to the foreground in Coetzee’s most recent novel, The Childhood of Jesus (2013), but it also underlies his previous ones, Age of Iron (1998), Disgrace (2000), and Slow Man (2005), as well as his critical pieces, “The Novel Today” (1988) and the “Jerusalem Prize Acceptance Speech” (1992b), all of which contain echoes of Cervantes’s masterpiece, Don Quixote ([1605, 1615]2005). My argument is that the conflict between imagination and reality, the novel and history, central in Coetzee’s fictional and non-fictional production, needs to be re-examined as a fundamentally Cervantine one. The adventures and fate of Don Quixote lie behind Coetzee’s exploration of whether literature may be an effective and ethical guide in our dealings with reality, whether the ordinary may be transformed into the extraordinary, and of the relation between the literary imagination and the onslaughts of the real world.' (Publisher's blurb)