Editions and translations have been updated for Slow Man 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.
Writing Disability in Australia:
|Type of disability||Amputated leg.|
|Type of character||Primary.|
|Point of view||Third person.|
'The prospect of death is one of J. M. Coetzee’s central and enduring concerns. As David Attwell observes in his biography, ‘The most trenchant of the purposes of Coetzee’s metafiction . . . is that it is a means whereby he challenges himself with sharply existential questions’. My claim in this essay is that Coetzee uses the act of writing existentially to orient himself and his readers to the prospect of death. I argue that Coetzee treats the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice as a story about how to deal with the prospect of death. What seems to terrify the Coetzeean protagonist is the thought of the absolute solitariness of death. I call this the curse of Eurydice. Eurydice’s fate in the myth is to be left alone in the Underworld, dying for a second time after her impatient lover turns to gaze at her before they have safely reached the surface of the earth. To take Eurydice’s point of view in the story is to begin to glimpse the solitariness of death. One of the roles of women in Coetzee’s fiction, I suggest, is to mitigate the male character’s fear of this solitariness by conducting him to the threshold of death, but no further.' (Publication abstract)
'Sympathy, understood to be the capacity to suffer with the other, has long been regarded as one of the major vehicles to inspire an ethical communion. By minimizing differences through identification, sympathy helps us resonate with other beings and to exist in relation to them. This thesis examines the ethical endeavors on the vexed question of sympathy in four works by J. M. Coetzee - - The Lives of Animals (1999), Disgrace (1999), Elizabeth Costello (2003) and Slow Man (2005), all of which manifest Coetzee's notable interest in a fully-engaged sympathetic imagination into depraved and deprived human or nonhuman subjects. ' (Thesis summary)
Since its publication, J.M. Coetzee's Slow Man has been received unenthusiastically. Its relative neglect suggests its failure to interest its readers as either a narrative to be read for the plot or as a text to be analyzed according to the prevailing values guiding contemporary literary criticism. Anticipating its own reception, Slow Man asks readers to consider the meaning of the novel’s failure to interest us greatly. Focussing self-consciously on an uninteresting character living in unremarkable times, Coetzee’s novel eschews a critical paradigm that invests in political urgency to make the ethical point that there are alternative values for judging the worth of a novel or character. In its search for affirmative values, Slow Man responds to the dilemmas of postcolonial postsecularism by suggesting that there are worse things a novelist might do than write an uninteresting book.