J.M. Coetzee and the Women of the Canon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Although female characters appear in prominent and complex roles in J. M. Coetzee’s novels, his intertextual references are primarily to male writers. And although he has written about southern African writers Pauline Smith, Doris Lessing and Nadine Gordimer, the focus of his critical and scholarly writing has also been on male writers. This chapter explores the apparent contradiction between his patent respect and inclusiveness towards women as characters and the comparative absence of female authors such as Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen and George Eliot from his scholarly and metatextual purview. Dooley concludes that Coetzee is drawn into the embodied world of fictional narrative along an intellectual and philosophical route not habitually taken by female authors of the past and thus feels more affinity with male writers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReading Coetzee's Women
EditorsSue Kossew, Melinda Harvey
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783030197773
ISBN (Print)9783030197766
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019


  • J.M. Coetzee
  • Women writers
  • Canonical authors
  • Literary influence
  • Intertextuality


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