Event: Coetzee & the Archive Conference, Thursday 5 – Friday 6 October 2017, Senate House, London.

Coetzee & the Archive

5-6 October 2017
School of Advanced Study, Senate House, University of London

Marc Farrant (Goldsmiths) & Kai Easton (SOAS)

(Note: the Coetzee reading and event has been rescheduled to Friday 6 October due to planned strike action by London Underground on Thursday 5th):
J.M. Coetzee –  a reading
Kathryn Mosley – guest pianist
Richard Mosse


Derek Attridge (York) (in absentia; film screening); David Attwell (York) (in absentia; film screening); Richard A. Barney (SUNY – Albany); Michael Cawood Green (Northumbria); Michele Chinitz (CUNY); Andrew Dean (Oxford); Kai Easton (SOAS, London); Alessandra Effe (Giessen); Marc Farrant (Goldsmiths, London); Ian Glenn (UCT); Lucy Graham (UWC); Shaun Irlam (SUNY – Buffalo); David Isaacs (UCL); Peter Johnston (Cambridge); Polona Jonik (Sussex); Peter McDonald (Oxford); Valeria Mosca (Genoa); Dominic O’Key (Leeds); Cristóbal Pérez BARRA (Oxford); Rebecca Roach (KCL); Paul Stewart (Nicosia); Pojanut Suthipinittharm (Silpakorn); Charlotte Terrell (Sussex); Andrew van der Vlies (Queen Mary); Jan Wilm (Goethe) (in absentia); Hermann Wittenberg (UWC); Jarad Zimbler (Birmingham).

Revised Programme: Coetzee the Archive(1)

‘… I have been through the letters and diaries. What Coetzee writes there cannot be trusted, not as a factual record – not because he was a liar but because he was a fictioneer’ (Summertime, 225).

What does it mean to be a fictioneer? And what precisely is the relationship between the truth of J. M. Coetzee’s works, especially with regard to the life-story of the fictionalised memoirs, and the factual record that lies behind them? How might such a self-reflexive body of work impact upon our reading of archival materials – manuscripts, drafts, letters and diaries?

The recent consolidation in 2012 of the Coetzee Collection at the world famous Harry Ransom Center (HRC), University of Texas – Austin, offers an exciting opportunity for scholars to address anew such fascinating, enthralling, and intractable questions.

This inaugural conference on Coetzee’s archive invites speakers to engage with both the general topic of the archive in Coetzee Studies and with the specific and voluminous materials that have travelled to the HRC to date.   What might be considered their ‘origins’, their ‘original homes’?  Where were they written, drafted, published, otherwise housed?  Where, in other words, do archives ‘begin’, and where might they take us?  Can we pinpoint such formations, and what are the implications of such geographies and materialities, theoretically and/or empirically, for the story of a writing life?

Touching upon disciplines as varied as the life sciences, theology and philosophy, South African history and politics, canonical literary intertexts, translation, and engagements with other artistic forms (visual; filmic; sound), Coetzee’s richly curated archive serves as a springboard for further investigations into his published writing and collaborative work.  With its numerous multi-lingual and multi-modal resources, it invites a significant expansion of critical scholarship, and asks us to consider questions of wider artistic practices, approach and methodology, genre, theory and creativity. We warmly welcome contributions from emerging and established scholars that seek to take imaginative and discursive leaps into new territories.


£65 Standard rate*

£45 Concessions rate (Students/unwaged/retired)*

£10 J.M. Coetzee reading and evening reception (Thursday, 5 October 2017 – Note: the Coetzee reading and event has been rescheduled to Friday 6 October due to planned strike action by London Underground on Thursday 5th)

This event is free for all CHASE students and scholars. Please email iesevents@sas.ac.uk to register, providing details of your institution and studentship.

Register here
(Institute of English Studies – The School of Advanced Study, University of London – copy and paste https://www.ies.sas.ac.uk/events/conferences/coetzee-archive).

*Both standard and concessions rates include the J.M. Coetzee reading and reception on Thursday, 5 October 2017. If you are purchasing a conference ticket, you do not need to purchase the additional £10 ticket.


Categories: Announcements, News, & Upcoming, Research, Studies, Teaching

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