Giving Offense: Essays on Censorship

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9780226111742: Giving Offense: Essays on Censorship
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Winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature.

J. M. Coetzee presents a coherent, unorthodox analysis of censorship from the perspective of one who has lived and worked under its shadow. The essays collected here attempt to understand the passion that plays itself out in acts of silencing and censoring. He argues that a destructive dynamic of belligerence and escalation tends to overtake the rivals in any field ruled by censorship.

From Osip Mandelstam commanded to compose an ode in praise of Stalin, to Breyten Breytenbach writing poems under and for the eyes of his prison guards, to Aleksander Solzhenitsyn engaging in a trial of wits with the organs of the Soviet state, Giving Offense focuses on the ways authors have historically responded to censorship. It also analyzes the arguments of Catharine MacKinnon for the suppression of pornography and traces the operations of the old South African censorship system.

"The most impressive feature of Coetzee's essays, besides his ear for language, is his coolheadedness. He can dissect repugnant notions and analyze volatile emotions with enviable poise."—Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

"Those looking for simple, ringing denunciations of censorship's evils will be disappointed. Coetzee explicitly rejects such noble tritenesses. Instead . . . he pursues censorship's deeper, more fickle meanings and unmeanings."—Kirkus Reviews

"These erudite essays form a powerful, bracing criticism of censorship in its many guises."—Publishers Weekly

"Giving Offense gets its incisive message across clearly, even when Coetzee is dealing with such murky theorists as Bakhtin, Lacan, Foucault, and René; Girard. Coetzee has a light, wry sense of humor."—Bill Marx, Hungry Mind Review

"An extraordinary collection of essays."—Martha Bayles, New York Times Book Review

"A disturbing and illuminating moral expedition."—Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times Book Review

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Review:

In this collection of eight essays, South African novelist J. M. Coetzee examines the complexities of censorship beyond the model of villainous censor and victimized artist. Having lived in a police state, Coetzee's experience is that "the same censors patrol the boundaries of both politics and esthetics." By contrast, in the United States, the way for artists to get away with representations that some find offensive or forbidden is to argue that their work has some political worth. Though Coetzee admits he doesn't know what to think of artists who "break taboos and yet claim protection of the law," he remains committed to free speech, conscious of how easily oppressive righteousness can rear its viscous head.

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In Giving Offense, South African writer J. M. Coetzee presents a coherent, unorthodox analysis of censorship from the perspective of a writer who has lived and worked under its shadow. Widely acclaimed for his many novels, Coetzee is also a brilliant literary critic and essayist. The essays collected here attempt to understand the passion that plays itself out in acts of silencing and censoring. Subscribing neither to the myth of the writer as a moral giant nor to that of the writer as persecuted innocent, Coetzee argues that a destructive dynamic of belligerence and escalation tends to overtake the rivals in any field ruled by censorship. From Osip Mandelstam commanded to compose an ode in praise of Stalin, to Breyten Breytenbach writing poems under and for the eyes of his prison guards, to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn engaging in a trial of wits with the organs of the Soviet state, Giving Offense focuses on the ways authors have historically responded to censorship. It also analyzes the arguments of Catharine MacKinnon for the suppression of pornography and traces the operations of the old South African censorship system. Finally, Coetzee delves into the early history of apartheid and critizes the blankness of contemporary political science in its efforts to address the deeper motives behind apartheid.

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9780226111766: Giving Offense: Essays on Censorship

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 1996. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. This text presents an analysis of censorship from the perspective of a writer who has lived and worked under its shadow. The essays collected here attempt to understand the passion that plays itself out in acts of silencing and censoring. Subscribing neither to the myth of the writer as a moral giant nor to that of the writer as persecuted innocent, Coetzee argues that a destructive dynamic of belligerence and escalation tends to overtake the rivals in any field ruled by censorship. Ranging from Osip Mandelstam being commanded to compose an ode in praise of Stalin to Breyten Breytenbach writing poems under and for the eyes of his prison guards, the book focuses on the ways authors have historically responded to censorship. It also analyzes the arguments of Catharine MacKinnon for the suppression of pornography and traces the operations of the old South African censorship system. Finally, Coetzee delves into the early history of apartheid and criticizes the blankness of contemporary political science in its efforts to address the deeper motives behind apartheid. Winner of the Booker Prize for "The Life and Times of Michael K.", Coetzee has also written seven novels, including "The Master of Petersburg", and two books of criticism. Seller Inventory # AAH9780226111742

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 1996. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. This text presents an analysis of censorship from the perspective of a writer who has lived and worked under its shadow. The essays collected here attempt to understand the passion that plays itself out in acts of silencing and censoring. Subscribing neither to the myth of the writer as a moral giant nor to that of the writer as persecuted innocent, Coetzee argues that a destructive dynamic of belligerence and escalation tends to overtake the rivals in any field ruled by censorship. Ranging from Osip Mandelstam being commanded to compose an ode in praise of Stalin to Breyten Breytenbach writing poems under and for the eyes of his prison guards, the book focuses on the ways authors have historically responded to censorship. It also analyzes the arguments of Catharine MacKinnon for the suppression of pornography and traces the operations of the old South African censorship system. Finally, Coetzee delves into the early history of apartheid and criticizes the blankness of contemporary political science in its efforts to address the deeper motives behind apartheid. Winner of the Booker Prize for "The Life and Times of Michael K.", Coetzee has also written seven novels, including "The Master of Petersburg", and two books of criticism. Seller Inventory # AAH9780226111742

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