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y separately published work icon Diary of a Bad Year single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 2007... 2007 Diary of a Bad Year
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'J. M. Coetzee's Diary of a Bad Year is about loneliness, friendship and the possibility of love. It takes the reader from Australian democracy to Guantanamo Bay, from the meaning of dishonour to the creative truth of dreams.' (Publisher's blurb)

Notes

  • Included in the New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books List for 2008.
  • Editions and translations have been updated for Diary of a Bad Year 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.

  • Other formats: Also large print and electronic resource.

Affiliation Notes

  • Associated with the AustLit subset Australian Literary Responses to 'Asia' as the work contains a Filipino character.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Text Publishing , 2007 .
      image of person or book cover 4192768439702062876.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 178p.
      Edition info: 1st ed.
      Note/s:
      • Includes bibliographic references.
      • Publication date: 3 September 2007.
      ISBN: 9781921145636 (hbk.), 1921145633 (hbk.)
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Viking ,
      2007 .
      image of person or book cover 3950816372169547223.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 231p.
      Note/s:
      • Diary of a Bad Year was reviewed in numerous USA newspapers in late December 2007 - early January 2008 following its American release. Some major US reviews are included on AustLit.
      ISBN: 9780670018758, 0670018759
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Harvill Secker ,
      2007 .
      image of person or book cover 608609375212831207.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 231p.
      ISBN: 9781846551208, 184655120X
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Penguin Books ,
      2008 .
      image of person or book cover 755916907038288698.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 231p.
      Note/s:
      • Publication date: 28 October 2008.
      ISBN: 9780143114482, 0143114484
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Text Publishing , 2008 .
      image of person or book cover 2439188285251138980.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 178p.
      Note/s:
      • Publication date: 29 September 2008.
      ISBN: 9781921351839 (pbk.), 1921351837 (pbk.)
    • Detroit, Michigan,
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Thorndike Press ,
      2008 .
      image of person or book cover 5358745556837007307.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 376p.
      Edition info: Large print ed.
      Note/s:
      • Publication date: 4 June 2008.
      ISBN: 9781410407146, 1410407144
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Vintage ,
      2008 .
      image of person or book cover 4053805713911252437.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 231p.
      ISBN: 9780099516224, 0099516225
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Text Publishing , 2012 .
      image of person or book cover 554835070439083580.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: xii, 178p., [2] leavesp.
      Note/s:
      ISBN: 9781921922367 (pbk.)
      Series: y separately published work icon Text Classics Text Publishing (publisher), Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2012- Z1851461 2012 series - publisher novel 'Great books by great Australian storytellers.' (Text website.)
Alternative title: Dagboek van een slecht jaar : roman
Language: Dutch
    • Amsterdam,
      c
      Netherlands,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Cossee ,
      2007 .
      image of person or book cover 9121769473453719024.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 187p.
      Edition info: 1st ed.
      Note/s:
      • Includes bibliographic references.
      ISBN: 9789059361690, 9059361695

Works about this Work

Self-Aware Self-Censorship As Form David Thomas Henry Wright , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: Electronic Book Review , May 2018;

'A dedicated, elaborated thought stream from an author who, like McElroy, has read and thought about  the presence of censorship (as theme and experience) in novels by Ross Gibson, Shariar Mandinipour,J. .M. Coetzee, W. G. Sebald, Mark Z Danielewski, Italo Calvino, and Fernando Pessoa. Author David Thomas Henry Wright explores the (loss of) authority of the literary novel in a time of “networked glut” while at the same time seeking trans-national, trans-historical, photographic, multi-medial and inter-generational “alliances”  that might redress contemporary censorship and “deeply shape (or erode) contemporary literature.”'

Source: Abstract.

“Do You Think I Can’t Read between the Lines?” : Discourse of the Unsaid in J. M. Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year Rachael Isom , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Journal of Commonwealth Literature , vol. 53 no. 1 2018; (p. 7-20)

'This article examines J. M. Coetzee’s use of intuitive and interpretive exchanges within and across the tripartite structure of Diary of a Bad Year (2007). It argues that Coetzee rejects strict understandings of the novel genre in favour of a more fluid form, enabling him to explore heteroglot exchanges within the two monologues on each page of Diary of a Bad Year and complicate conventional understandings of Bakhtin’s theory of dialogism. Creating multiple layers that begin with unspoken words, pass through an “othered” interpreter, and arrive at the reader via the novel’s narration, meaning is reconfigured and reconsidered in a way that distances it from the author. The essay further argues that Coetzee’s use of dialogic discourse in Diary of a Bad Year privileges the perspective of the Filipina woman whose voice drives much of the novel’s commentary as she wins the interpretive game Coetzee creates.'  (Publication abstract)

Eurydice’s Curse : J. M. Coetzee and the Prospect of Death Chris Danta , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , February vol. 33 no. 1 2018;

'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)

“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)
Feste Ansichten in His Own Person : J.M. Coetzee Speaks Gillian Dooley , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: MediaTropes , vol. 4 no. 2 2014; (p. 31-45)
'Three recent books by J.M. Coetzee, Elizabeth Costello (2003), Diary of a Bad Year (2007), and Here and Now (2013), have included extensive expressions of opinion. The wide-ranging discussions in these books cover topics from political philosophy, language, animal rights, and paedophilia to music, food, and sport. There is substantial continuity in the opinions expressed, and the characters or personae expressing these views also have a good deal in common. Nevertheless, these opinions are expressed in three explicitly different personae. With each of these books the personae are progressively more closely identifiable with Coetzee himself. Elizabeth Costello, in the book of that name, is a character who crosses gender and national boundaries from her creator. JC in Diary of a Bad Year shares at least some biographical circumstances with Coetzee—land of birth, gender, initials, occupation, for example. Then, in Here and Now, we are presented with what purports transparently to be the author J.M. Coetzee’s own voice in correspondence with Paul Auster. How do I, as a reader and a critic, negotiate this progression? Just how much license does the apparently closer correspondence between author and writing persona give me to believe that I know what Coetzee ‘really’ thinks or believes?' (Publication abstract)
The Master's Voices Peter Craven , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 25 August 2007; (p. 20)

— Review of Diary of a Bad Year J. M. Coetzee , 2007 single work novel
Be It Poetry or Polemic, It's a Natter of Opinion Kerryn Goldsworthy , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 25-26 August 2007; (p. 23)

— Review of Diary of a Bad Year J. M. Coetzee , 2007 single work novel
Diary of a Bad Year: Good Things Come in Threes A. P. Riemer , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 25-26 August 2007; (p. 32)

— Review of Diary of a Bad Year J. M. Coetzee , 2007 single work novel
[Review] Diary of a Bad Year Kabita Dhara , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: Bookseller + Publisher Magazine , August vol. 87 no. 2 2007; (p. 32)

— Review of Diary of a Bad Year J. M. Coetzee , 2007 single work novel
'Diary' in Three-Part Disharmony Mark Thomas , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 1 September 2007; (p. 11)

— Review of Diary of a Bad Year J. M. Coetzee , 2007 single work novel
Graphic Texts Are a Novel Alternative Jane Sullivan , 2007 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 25 August 2007; (p. 28)
Coetzee 'Diary' Targets PM Deborah Hope , 2007 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 25-26 August 2007; (p. 5)
Writers on the Wing : Birds and the (De/Re)construction of Cultural Memory in Patrick Chamoiseau and J. M. Coetzee's Fictional Narratives Lucile Desblache , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Kunapipi , vol. 29 no. 2 2007; (p. 178-193)
What is to be Done? Larry Buttrose , 2008 single work essay
— Appears in: Wet Ink , Winter no. 11 2008; (p. 8-13)
In Praise of Slow Reading Subhash Jaireth , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 2 January 2010; (p. 12)
Publishers and literary agents are interested in publishing books that readers will buy. By promoting new releases as 'page turners', which can be read quickly, the culture of serious and contemplative reading, together with the culture of writing and publishing are devalued.
Last amended 2 Dec 2014 10:46:02
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