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Issue Details: First known date: 2009... 2009 Summertime : Scenes from Provincial Life
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'A young English biographer is working on a book about the late writer, John Coetzee. He plans to focus on the years from 1972 - 1977 when Coetzee, in his thirties, is sharing a run-down cottage in the suburbs of Cape Town with his widowed father. This, the biographer senses, is the period when he was finding his feet as a writer. Never having met Coetzee, he embarks on a series of interviews with people who were important to him: a married woman with whom he had an affair, his favourite cousin Margot, a Brazilian dancer whose daughter had English lessons with him, former friends and colleagues. From their testimony emerges a portrait of the young Coetzee as an awkward, bookish individual with little talent for opening himself to others. Within the family he is regarded as an outsider, someone who tried to flee the tribe and has now returned, chastened. His insistence on doing manual work, his long hair and beard, rumours that he writes poetry evoke nothing but suspicion in the South Africa of the time.

Sometimes heartbreaking, often very funny, Summertime shows us a great writer as he limbers up for his task. It completes the majestic trilogy of fictionalised memoir begun with Boyhood and Youth.' (Provided by the publisher.)

Exhibitions

7979488

Notes

  • Author's note:

    My thanks to Marilia Bandeira for assistance with Brazilian Portuguese, and to the estate of Samuel Beckett for permission to quote (in fact to misquote) from Waiting for Godot.

  • Summertime : Scenes from Provincial Life is the third book in Coetzee's trilogy of fictionalised memoir after Boyhood and Youth. All three books were revised and published collectively under the title Scenes from Provincial Life in 2011.
  • The bibliographical listing of this work has been extended in the course of a 2014/15 project to create a comprehensive bibliography of Coetzee's works. We believe the record for the novel and its relationship to the revised version in Scenes of Provincial Life is comprehensive. However, due to the enormous breadth of critical material on Coetzee's work, indexing of secondary sources is not complete.

    We are grateful for the author's and Indiana University's Professor Breon Mitchell's assistance in compiling this record.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Harvill Secker ,
      2009 .
      image of person or book cover 4587788960762806982.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 266p.
      Edition info: 1st UK ed.
      ISBN: 1846553180 (hbk.), 9781846553189 (hbk.)
    • Leicestershire,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      W. F. Howes ,
      2009 .
      image of person or book cover 5647126981470971239.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 311p.
      Edition info: Large print ed.
      ISBN: 1407449427, 9781407449425
      Series: y separately published work icon Clipper Large Print Books Leicestershire : W. F. Howes , 2002 7801344 2002 series - publisher novel
    • North Sydney, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Random House Australia , 2009 .
      image of person or book cover 3699859683259532041.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 266p.
      ISBN: 1741669022 (hbk.), 9781741669022 (hbk.)
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Viking ,
      2009 .
      image of person or book cover 7291062243805658348.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 266p.
      Edition info: 1st US ed.
      ISBN: 0670021385 (hbk), 9780670021383 (hbk)
    • North Sydney, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Knopf Australia , 2009 .
      image of person or book cover 631190170200739417.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 266p.
      Edition info: 1st Australian ed.
      ISBN: 1741669022 (hbk.), 9781741669022 (hbk.)
    • Thorndike, Maine,
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Center Point Publishing ,
      2010 .
      image of person or book cover 732832225639444037.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 334p.
      Edition info: Large print ed.
      ISBN: 1602856818, 9781602856813
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Penguin Books ,
      2010 .
      image of person or book cover 4380388897799427063.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 266p.
      ISBN: 0143118455, 9780143118459
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Vintage ,
      2010 .
      image of person or book cover 7135006648499117702.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 266p.
      ISBN: 0099540541, 9780099540540
    • North Sydney, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Vintage Australia , 2010 .
      image of person or book cover 2204919311913955233.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 266p.
      ISBN: 1741669030, 9781741669039
Alternative title: Zomertijd
Language: Dutch
    • Amsterdam,
      c
      Netherlands,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Cossee ,
      2009 .
      image of person or book cover 7305598102849170191.png
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 297p.
      Edition info: 1st ed.
      Note/s:
      • According to J. C. Kannemeyer, author of the 2012 biography, J. M. Coetzee : A Life in Writing the Dutch edition was published two months prior to the Harville Secker London edition. (p. 615).
      ISBN: 9059362578, 9789059362574
    • The Hague,
      c
      Netherlands,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Stichting Uitgeverij XL ,
      2010 .
      Extent: 382p.
      Edition info: Large print ed.
      ISBN: 9046306259, 9789046306253
      Series: y separately published work icon XL The Hague : Stichting Uitgeverij XL , 1994 7962272 1994 series - publisher novel

      A series of large-print books published by Stichting Uitgeverij XL. Translations of J. M. Coetzee's novels feature in this series.

      Number in series: 1606

Works about this Work

Writing the Self as Other : Autrebiography Paul Williams , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: TEXT : The Journal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs , October vol. 23 no. 2 2019;
'According to Roland Barthes, the autobiographic act of remembering and reclaiming the past commits the fallacy of conflating the author, narrator and protagonist, and giving the first two power over the latter. The past self is a fictional ‘other’, and the writing of memoir is a reading of the past self as a text. JM Coetzee therefore calls his meta-autobiographies (the three-part Scenes from a Provincial Life) autrebiographies, or ‘other-life-writing’. In this paper, I discuss the need for writers of memoir and autobiography to construct a past self as ‘other’, and argue for the impossibility of any kind of authentic representation of the ‘self’ in memoir or autobiography.' (Publication abstract)
 
Intimate Practices : Music, Sex, and the Body in J. M. Coetzee's Summertime Axel Englund , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Mosaic , June vol. 50 no. 2 2017; (p. 99-115)

'This essay addresses the role of music in J. M. Coetzee's recent prose. Taking Summertime as a central example, it argues that Coetzee finds in music a means of problematizing issues of body and mind, of history and mediation, and of gender and sexuality.'  (Publication abstract)

Beyond the Death of the Author : Summertime and J. M. Coetzee's Afterlives Donald Powers , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Life Writing , vol. 13 no. 3 2016; (p. 323-334)
'This paper begins by exploring via Roland Barthes's eponymous book about himself the implications of the premise of J. M. Coetzee's novel Summertime that the author John Coetzee is dead. I show how Summertime’s fragmented structure and echoes from Coetzee's earlier novels undermine the idea of a coherent authorial subject, and how emigration and acts of translation in the novel are central to how Coetzee's personality, life, and work are interpreted. The paper goes on to examine the influence of Nabokov's work on Coetzee's later fictions, with an emphasis on the interplay between Nabokov's actual and fictionalised struggles with his biographers. The paper concludes by arguing that J. C. Kannemeyer's biography of Coetzee, notwithstanding its claims to objective detachment, cannot but be read as a text scripted in the spirit of Coetzee's novel. ...'
J. M. Coetzee’s Literature of Hospice Katherine Hallemeier , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Modern Fiction Studies , Fall vol. 62 no. 3 2016; (p. 481-498)
'Near the end of J. M. Coetzee’s fictionalized memoir Summertime, an undated fragment from the notes of the protagonist John Coetzee presents the character at a crossroads. A cancerous tumor is found on his father’s larynx. After the prescribed laryngectomy, John perceives his father “like a corpse, the corpse of an old man” (262–63).1 John’s father is returned to his home by ambulance workers who provide a sheet of instructions before departing. In the fiction’s closing lines John gradually realizes his father’s care has become his responsibility: “It is not [the ambulance workers’] business, taking care of the wound, taking care of the patient. Their business is to convey the patient to his or her place of residence. After that it is the patient’s business, or the patient’s family’s business, or else no one’s business”. (Author's introduction)
Titular Space in J.M. Coetzee's Summertime : A Maquette for a Portrait, or a Self-Portrait, of the Artist Finding His Feet Brian Macaskill , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: MediaTropes , vol. 4 no. 2 2014; (p. 114-143)
'This essay considers the title of J.M. Coetzee’s Summertime from the perspective of a remark Coetzee makes in Doubling the Point that ‘all writing is autobiographical,’ and posits a concept of ‘titular space’ tropologically exceeding the ‘reality effect’ envisaged by Roland Barthes.' (Publication summary)
Sun, Sex and Self-Scrutiny A. P. Riemer , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 22-23 August 2009; (p. 28-29)

— Review of Summertime : Scenes from Provincial Life J. M. Coetzee , 2009 single work novel
Self-Portrait of a Critical Master Sandy McCutcheon , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 29 - 30 August 2009; (p. 24)

— Review of Summertime : Scenes from Provincial Life J. M. Coetzee , 2009 single work novel
Just Passing Through Delia Falconer , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian Literary Review , September vol. 4 no. 8 2009; (p. 5-7)

— Review of Summertime : Scenes from Provincial Life J. M. Coetzee , 2009 single work novel
Well Read Katharine England , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 5 September 2009; (p. 24)

— Review of Summertime : Scenes from Provincial Life J. M. Coetzee , 2009 single work novel
Dissection of the Self Geordie Williamson , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 5-6 September 2009; (p. 24-25)

— Review of Summertime : Scenes from Provincial Life J. M. Coetzee , 2009 single work novel
Chimp Could Make Chump of Coetzee Jason Steger , 2009 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 30 July 2009; (p. 9)
Heading the Field Alison Flood , 2009 single work column
— Appears in: Sunday Canberra Times , 2 August 2009; (p. 27)
Coetzee a Booker Finalist 2009 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 9 September 2009; (p. 3)
Byatt Eyes Man Booker 2009 single work column
— Appears in: The West Australian , 9 September 2009; (p. 7)
Overflow Rosemary Sorensen , 2009 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 19-20 September 2009; (p. 19)
A column canvassing current literary news including brief reports on the reception of J. M. Coetzee's Summertime and on an interactive installation in Brisbane allowing members of the public to re-write Dorothea Mackellar's 'My Country'.
Last amended 9 Jan 2015 13:50:00
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