The taint of the censor: J.M. Coetzee and the making of In the Heart of the Country
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With the publication of In the Heart of the Country by the London publisher Secker & Warburg in 1977, J. M. Coetzee had achieved international recognition for his second novel, transcending the narrow national literary culture of South Africa. Although In the Heart of the Country, with its overtly South African subject matter and setting certainly strengthened his credentials as a significant new South African writer, a careful look at the publication history of this novel shows a degree of ambivalence in the way Coetzee's authorship emerged in the force-field of tension between the local and the global. On the one hand, In the Heart of the Country's British publication was a further step in Coetzee's transnational authorship, a process that I have argued took place already with the writing and local South African publication of Dusklands (1974) ; on the other hand, Coetzee was also addressing himself for the first (and possibly last) time in a very particular and focused manner to a local readership. This complex doubled form of authorship was reflected in the dual publication history of In the Heart of the Country, both as an international version for the metropolitan Anglophone market (with a parallel United States edition), and as an edition published by Ravan Press in the following year, licensed for distribution only in South Africa. The South African edition distinguished itself not only by a different imprint and jacket design, but was decidedly local, with much of the novel's extensive dialogue in Afrikaans.