Boekhandel Douwes Den Haag

J.M. Coetzee and Neoliberal Culture

Andrew Gibson

J.M. Coetzee and Neoliberal Culture

J.M. Coetzee and Neoliberal Culture

J.M. Coetzee and Neoliberal Culture


Reads the writings of J.M. Coetzee against the democratic culture of neoliberalism and examines how, by aesthetic means, he enters a range of nuanced, subtly inflected differences with the dominant culture, and how his readers can enter them via attention to his work.

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Beschrijving J.M. Coetzee and Neoliberal Culture

This book presents J. M. Coetzee's work as a complex, nuanced counterblast to contemporary, global, neoliberal economics and its societies. Not surprisingly, given his many years in South Africa and Australia, Coetzee writes from a `global-Southern' perspective. Drawing on a wealth of literature, philosophy, and theory, this book reads Coetzee's writings as a discreet, oblique but devastating engagement with neoliberal presumptions.

It identifies and focuses on various key features of neoliberal culture: its obsession with self-enrichment, mastery, growth; its belief in plenitude, endless resources; its hubris and obsession with (self)-promotion; its desire for ease and easiness, `well-being', euphoria; its fetishization of managerial reason and the culture of security; its unrelenting positivity, its belief in illusory goods and trivial progressivisms. By contrast, Coetzee's writings explore the virtues of irony and
self-reduction. He commits himself to difficulty, discomfort, patient and austere, if bleak, inquiry, rigorous questioning, and radical doubt. Destitution and failure come to look like a serious, dignified form of life and thought. The very tones of Coetzee's books run counter to those of our neoliberal
democracies. They point in a different direction to an age that has gone astray.

OUP Oxford

Literaire non-fictie