Between "Illusionism" and "Anti-Illusionism": Self-Reflexivity in the Chosen Novels of J. M. Coetzee takes as its premise J. M. Coetzee's distinction between "illusionism" and "anti-illusionism": the realist and the self-reflexive traditions in prose fiction. The aim of this critical study is to demonstrate that these two traditions are not opposed, but rather complementary to each other, and enrich the novel as a genre. Based on Marek Pawlicki's doctoral thesis, the book is a detailed analysis of Coetzee's oeuvre, paying particular attention to the impact of the writer's literary essays on his fiction. Insofar as it looks into the ways in which Coetzee's work as a critic has affected his novels, this book deals with the relation between fiction and literary criticism. Chapters One to Five, devoted to Dusklands, In the Heart of the Country, Age of Iron and Summertime, are concerned with the issue of subjectivity in confessional discourse and the boundary between fiction and autobiography. Chapters Six to Eight, concentrating on Foe, Slow Man, The Master of Petersburg, and Elizabeth Costello, offer insight into Coetzee's views on literary creation and the role of the writer in society. Between "Illusionism" and "Anti-Illusionism" also examines intertextual relations between Coetzee's novels and the works of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Kafka and Beckett.
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Marek Pawlicki graduated from the Institute of English Studies of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, in 2008. In 2012, he completed his PhD, with a thesis entitled "Self-Reflexivity in the Works of J. M. Coetzee". His current research interests include confessional discourse and self-reflexivity in contemporary Anglo-American fiction. He is a Lecturer at the Neophilological Institute of the State School of Higher Education in Oswiecim.Review:
"The very first chapter of his doctoral thesis clearly demonstrates Marek Pawlicki's talent as a patient teacher, an inquisitive researcher, and, above all, a considerate scholar and author who, unlike those academics that hermetically shut themselves in the world of citations and literary criticism, constantly goes out to the reader, ensuring their full understanding of his argumentation and reasoning." -dr hab. Anna Walczuk "With each chapter of this thesis grew my admiration for its hermeneutical thoroughness and its author's exceptional sensitivity to the slightest nuances of both Coetzee's works and the reactions of his characters to the challenges they are faced with." -Professor dr hab. Ewa Borkowska
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