Clarkson pays sustained attention to the dynamic interaction between Coetzee's fiction and his critical writing, exploring the Nobel prize-winner's participation in, and contribution to, contemporary literary-philosophical debates. The book sets out by examining Coetzee's preoccupation with language, and opens onto a consideration of the ethical and aesthetic implications of the writer's linguistic choices. What is ethically at stake in the decision to write in the third person, or in playing up the etymologies of words? In what ways do seemingly innocent linguistic decisions have ethical and aesthetic consequences for the position of the speaking or writing self in relation to those whom one addresses, or in relation to those on whose behalf one speaks, or in relation to a world one attempts to represent or create in writing? Questions such as these arise throughout Coetzee's oeuvre, especially in relation to further reflections on notions of the writer's authority and authorial commitments.
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