Prof Mike Marais

Mike Marais

Professor Mike Marais

M.A. (NMMU) Ph.D. (UJ)

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Teaching and Research Interests

Contemporary South African fiction; postcolonial fiction; postmodernist fiction; theory of literature.

Mike Marais is especially interested in the interface between ethics and aesthetics in narrative fiction.


 Selected Publications


 Secretary of the Invisible: The Idea of Hospitality in the Fiction of J.M. Coetzee. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2009.

 Book Chapters

 2015  [with Minesh Dass] “Reading Unreadable Lives: Precarity in Ken Barris’s What Kind of Child and Ishtiyaq Shukri’s The Silent Minaret.” Security and Hospitality in Literature and Culture. Ed. Emily Ridge and Jeffrey Clapp. London: Routledge. 127-140.

 2013    “J?zyki w?adzy. Historia odczytania Michaela K/Michaela K”.  Wielcy arty?ci ucieczek. antologia tekstów o zyciu i czasach Michaela K Johna Maxwella Coetzeego w trzydziest? rocznic? publikacji powie?ci.  Ed. Piotra Jakubowskiego and Ma?gorzaty Jankowskiej.  Kraków: Korporcja Ha!art.  87-105.

“The Augenblick of Reading in the Writing of J. M. Coetzee and Michael Ondaatje.”  Levinas and Twentieth-Century Literature: Ethics and the Reconstitution of Subjectivity.  Ed. Donald R. Wehrs.  Newark: U of Delaware P. 237-51.

2011    “The Trope of Following in J. M. Coetzee’s Slow Man.”  Strong Opinions: J.M. Coetzee and the Authority of Contemporary Fiction.  Ed. Chris Danta, Sue Kossew, and Julian Murphet.  London: Continuum. 99-111.

 2006    “Death and the Space of the Response to the Other in J. M. Coetzee’s The Master of Petersburg.”  J.M. Coetzee and the Idea of the Public Intellectual.  Ed. Jane Poynor.  Athens, Ohio: Ohio UP. 83-99.1996    “The Hermeneutics of Empire: Coetzee’s Post-Colonial Metafiction.” Critical Perspectives on J.M. Coetzee. Ed. G. Huggan and S. Watson.  Houndmills: Macmillan.

Articles in Journals

2015    “The Time of Hospitality in Samuel Beckett’s Murphy, Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient, and Damon Galgut’s The Good Doctor.” English Studies in Africa 58.2: 15-25.

2014    “I am infinitely strange to myself”: Existentialism, the Bildungsroman, and John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman.” Journal of Narrative Theory 44.2 (Summer 2014): 244-66.

“The Incurious Seeker: Waiting, and the Search for the Stranger in the Fiction of Samuel Beckett and J. M. Coetzee”. MediaTropes 4.2: 6-30.

“Necrophiliac Narration and the Business of Friends: Damon Galgut’s The Good Doctor.” Safundi 15.4: 455-70.

“Shame, Divine Cannibalism, and the Spectacle of Subaltern Suffering in Ken Barris’s What Kind of Child.” English in Africa 41.3: 79-95.

2013    “A road that may lead nowhere”: J.M. Coetzee, Tayeb Salih, and the Hospitality of Vagrant Writing.”  Revista de Filosofía 134: 45-67.

[with Erica Lombard] “Through a Sheet of Glass: The Ethics of Reading in Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda.”  Journal of Literary Studies 29.1: 50-66.

2011    “Violence, Postcolonial Fiction, and the Limits of Sympathy.” Studies in the Novel 43.1: 94-114.

2010    “Bodies that Belong: Race and Space in Elleke Boehmer’s Nile Baby.”  English Studies in Africa 53.1: 45-52.

2009    “Coming into Being: J.M. Coetzee’s Slow Man and the Aesthetic of Hospitality.”  Contemporary Literature 50.2: 273-98.

2008    “From the Standpoint of Redemption: Aesthetic Engagement and Social Engagement in J.M. Coetzee’s Fiction of the Late Apartheid Period.”  Journal of Narrative Theory 38.2: 229-48.

2006    “J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace and the Task of the Imagination.” Journal of Modern Literature 29.2 (2006): 75-93.

2005    “Bastards and Bodies in Zo? Wicomb’s David’s Story.”  Journal of Commonwealth Literature 40.3 (2005): 21-36.

2003    “We know bugger-all about baboons: Nature and Exile in Justin Cartwright’s White Lightning.”  English Academy Review 20: 69-87.

 2002   “Visions of Excess: Closure, Irony, and the Thought of Community in Ivan Vladislavi?’s The Restless Supermarket.”  English in Africa, 29.2: 101-118.

2001    “Literature and the Labour of Negation: J.M. Coetzee’s Life & Times of Michael K.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 36.1 (2001): 107-125.

“‘The rest should be silence’: Blanchot, Conrad, and the Impossibility of Silence.”  Journal of Literary Studies, 17.3-4 (2001): 182-195.

“Impossible Possibilities: Ethics and Choice in J.M. Coetzee’s The Lives of Animals and Disgrace.”  English Academy Review 18: 1-20.

2000    “‘Little enough, less than little: nothing’: Ethics, Engagement, and Change in the Fiction of J.M. Coetzee.”  MFS: Modern Fiction Studies 46.1 (2000): 159-182.



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