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David Attwell, who is professor of English at the University of York, is one of the most sophisticated critics of J.M. Coetzee's novels. His own writing about Coetzee has in fact become inseparable from Coetzee scholarship (he edited the seminal book of essays and interviews with Coetzee entitled Doubling the point). In some respects, then, J.M. Coetzee & the Life of writing brings us full circle: it is as much about Coetzee's work, as about the evolution of this important critic's own engagement with the meaning of the novels. This point is made clear in the preface: Attwell has, after rigorous study of the manuscripts, come to realise that Coetzee's processes of writing are at least as fascinating as the finished product. What he offers is less a biography of Coetzee the man than an intimate study of the evolution of his writing.
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