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Giving Offense: Essays on Censorship

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  106 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 297 pages
Published April 15th 1996 by University Of Chicago Press
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Dear GR management (GRM in this review). I assert my right as the author of this book to write what I consider to be relevant by way of a review. Please don’t delete it!

Dear GRM, occasionally I write reviews for a shelf called ‘pairs’. I copy the same review to the two different books I discuss. Please don’t delete either – or both (how would you decide?) – though I appreciate it breaks your new rules. Reviewed as a pair with Fair Play or Foul?

In the earl
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
BEEP! BEEP! I would have gotten more out of this book if I read more of the works that Coetzee discusses.

However, this book is extremely interesting because of the analysis of censoring on the writer.

The above review has been pre-empted to bring you the following review. The review below was written by Ruby Has Been Censored. She gave her permission for the below to be reprinted. Thank you Ruby!

Ruby's Most Wonderful and Brillant Review


The full review is available here on my blog, sin
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Coetzee's prose is clinical, incisive, scintillating with the hard edges and clear gleams common to his narrative work also, but here he allows himself a direct access to political questions and theoretical discourse. With characteristic patience he traces censorship's relation to pornography, madness, apartheid, South Africa, and in the work of a select few writers: D.H. Lawrence, Catharine MacKinnon, Erasmus, Osip Mandelstam, Zbigniew Herbert, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Geoffrey Cronje, andre bri ...more
Daniel Taylor
Mar 22, 2011 rated it liked it
For those of us who live in countries like Australia, which has never been hidden behind the razor wire of censorship like Coetzee is writing about, will find it difficult to see this book as anything but an academic adventure into the dark side.

Coetzee has lived in South Africa and the apartheid-inspired censorship there shows up as the topic in many of these essays.

As a writer myself, I'm left wondering what I would do under the oppressive gaze of a censor. The wannabe-hero in me says that I w
Jan 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: language, 300s
Keen and conscientious thought and prose. More stodgy than his fiction, true to academic form, and definitely a collection of essays rather than chapters of a unified book. Both the ideas and the language are alive, though: "It is tempting to suggest that the logic of provocative name-calling, when used as a tactic of the weak against the strong, is that if the strong can be made to take offense, they thereby put themselves at least momentarily on the same footing as the weak." (3)

"Desire is mim
Lukasz Pruski
Dec 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The punitive gesture of censoring finds its origin in the reaction of being offended. The strength of being-offended, as a state of mind, lies in not doubting itself; its weakness lies in not being able to afford to doubt itself. "

J.M. Coetzee's Giving Offense (1996) is a collection of 12 essays about the nature and essence of censorship, its various aspects and manifestations, and its effects on the society and on the artists (the subtitle of the book says it simply: Essays on Censorship). Whi
I've spent way too much time with the Erasmus essay here for me, ten years later, to see it with fresh eyes. Otherwise the essays collected here look at questions in the censorship game that might evade readers. From the more obvious 'how was Lady Chatterley's Lover defended and maybe it would have been best if DH Lawrence shut up?' and 'aren't South African censors really ridiculous?' to the estranged 'does the Stalin ode, written in duress, still "count" as something Mandelstam wrote?' and 'do ...more
Oct 13, 2013 marked it as wish-list  ·  review of another edition
I wish to read this book as to aid my comprehension of why censorship is put in place. It seems to me that the people who censor must be wibbly-wobbly if not outright paranoid over their authority. I base these views on Stalin, Hitler, Mao etc etc.

This book was recommended by many good friends.
Oct 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, dcar
dry and dense.
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excelente libro, válido para la época actual.
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John Maxwell Coetzee is an author and academic from South Africa. He is now an Australian citizen and lives in South Australia.
A novelist and literary critic as well as a translator, Coetzee has won the Booker Prize twice and was awarded the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature.
More about J.M. Coetzee...

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