y Walkabout single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 1959 1959
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'A plane crashes in the vast Northern Territory of Australia, and the only survivors are two children from Charleston, South Carolina, on their way to visit their uncle in Adelaide. Mary and her younger brother, Peter, set out on foot, lost in the vast, hot Australian outback. They are saved by a chance meeting with an unnamed Aboriginal boy on walkabout. He looks after the two strange white children and shows them how to find food and water in the wilderness, and yet, for all that, Mary is filled with distrust.

On the surface Walkabout is an adventure story, but darker themes lie beneath. Peter's innocent friendship with the boy met in the desert throws into relief Mary's half-adult anxieties, and the book as a whole raises questions about what is lost—and may be saved—when different worlds meet. And in reading Marshall's extraordinary evocations of the beautiful yet forbidding landscape of the Australian desert, perhaps the most striking presence of all in this small, perfect book, we realize that this tale—a deep yet disturbing story in the spirit of Adalbert Stifter's Rock Crystal and Richard Hughes's A High Wind in Jamaica—is also a reckoning with the mysteriously regenerative powers of death' (publisher blurb, NYRB Classics).

Adaptations

form y Walkabout Edward Bond , Australia : Max L. Raab - Si Litvinoff Film Productions , 1971 Z1039037 1971 single work film/TV (taught in 6 units)

Adapted from James Vance Marshall's novel The Children, Walkabout begins with a father-of-two driving his fourteen-year-old daughter and six-year-old son into the desert. Overwhelmed by the pressure on his life, he plans to kill them and then commit suicide, but his plan goes wrong. The siblings wander the desert aimlessly until they meet a young Aboriginal boy who is on a solitary walkabout as part of his tribal initiation into manhood. The three become travelling companions. Gradually, sexual tension develops between the girl and the Aboriginal boy. When they approach white civilisation, the Aboriginal boy dances a night-long courtship dance, but the girl is ignorant of its meaning. When she and her brother awake in the morning, they find the boy dead, hanging from a tree. The brother and sister make their way to the nearby mining town, where they receive a cool welcome from the townsfolk.

Notes

  • This novel, though published under the name James Vance Marshall, was actually written by the English author Donald Gordon Payne and was based on the notes of Marshall. Marshall claimed the work as his own during his lifetime and is likely to have written the initial draft of the work. Following Marshall's death, Payne (who claims this work as his own) continued to publish novels for children and adults using Marshall's name. This was done with the family's permission and in some cases the later books also drew on Marshall's notes. There has been confusion about the status of the works in numerous sources.
  • Other formats: Also braille, large print, sound recording.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Michael Joseph , 1959 .
      Extent: 125p.
      Note/s:
      • First published May 1959.
      • 2nd impression August 1959.
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Methuen , 1960 .
      Alternative title: The Children
      Extent: 135p.
      Description: illus.
      Series: Venture Library Methuen (publisher), series - publisher
    • Garden City, New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Doubleday , 1961 .
      Extent: 125p.
    • Harmondsworth, Middlesex,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Penguin ; Michael Joseph , 1963 .
      Extent: 124p.
      Reprinted: 1967 , 1969 , 1970 , 1971 , 1972 twice , 1973 , 1974 twice , 1975 , 1978 , 1979 From 1979 published as Puffin. , 1976 , 1977 twice , 1980 , 1982 , 1984 , 1998
      ISBN: 0140470247
      Series: Peacock Books Penguin (publisher), series - publisher
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Belmont Books , 1971 .
      Extent: 158 p. [16] p. of platesp.
      Edition info: Rev. ed.
      Description: illus.
      ISBN: 0505513196
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Michael Joseph , 1971 .
      Extent: 123p.
      Edition info: Rev. ed.
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      William Morrow , 1971 .
      Extent: 123p.
      Edition info: Rev. ed.
      Description: col.plate
    • Littleton, Massachusetts,
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Sundance Publishing , 1984 .
      Extent: 158 p., [16] p. of platesp.
      Description: illus.
      ISBN: 0887410995
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      The New York Review of Books , 2012 .
      Extent: xv, 144p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Introduction by Lee Siegel.
      ISBN: 9781590174906
      Series: y NYRB Classics The New York Review of Books (publisher), New York (City) : The New York Review of Books , 1999- Z1836343 1999 series - publisher 'The NYRB Classics series is designedly and determinedly exploratory and eclectic, a mix of fiction and non-fiction from different eras and times and of various sorts. The series includes nineteenth century novels and experimental novels, reportage and belles lettres, tell-all memoirs and learned studies, established classics and cult favorites, literature high, low, unsuspected, and unheard of. NYRB Classics are, to a large degree, discoveries, the kind of books that people typically run into outside of the classroom and then remember for life.Inevitably literature in translation constitutes a major part of the NYRB Classics series, simply because so much great literature has been left untranslated into English, or translated poorly, or deserves to be translated again, much as any outstanding book asks to be read again. The series started in 1999 with the publication of Richard Hughes's A High Wind in Jamaica ... [and] almost all NYRB Classics feature an introduction by an outstanding writer, scholar, or critic of our day' (publisher website).
Alternative title: Die Kinder
Language: German
    • c
      Germany,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Schwarbenverlag , 1961 .
      Extent: 123p.
      Reprinted: 1976 3rd printing.
      ISBN: 3796604382

Works about this Work

The Two Walkabouts Leo Siegel , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: New York Review of Books , 12 January - 8 February vol. 59 no. 1 2012; (p. 34-35)
The Red Frog Prince : A Fairytale About the Shifting Social Status of Sugar Toni Risson , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: TEXT : Special Issue Website Series , October no. 9 2010;
'Once upon a time, sugar was a magical substance in an ordinary world. When it became cheap and readily available in the mid-nineteenth century, sugar and sugar confectionery became part of the ordinary diet, and have since fallen to the status of junk food, and, more recently, poison. But children relate to lollies at the level of imagination, so lollies are a vital part of the wonder of childhood and retain for children the magical cultural status once attributed to them. Allen’s red jelly frogs are banned from school tuckshops, but they play a noble role in opening doors for youth chaplains during the notorious Schoolies Week. Furthermore, the humble lolly descends from the elaborate sugarwork that once featured in royal banquets; it was noble all along. Lollies are no longer on the menu, and they do not even fit into food categories, but judgements based on food value alone fail to take into account the magical role they play in children’s lives and ignore the ways in which health authorities, artists, and advertisers use confectionery. Lollies have more in common with fairytales than food. The Frog Prince—a fairytale about a royal son who is turned into an ugly frog by a wicked enchantress and then rescued through his relationship with a child—is a metaphor for red frog lollies. This paper examines red frogs as sites of transformation, thereby repositioning sugar confectionery as magic and challenging dominant narratives that reduce the complexity of lollies and their cultural significance.' (Author's abstract)
Walkabout Peter Pierce , 1999 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Country of Lost Children : An Australian Anxiety 1999; (p. 156-159)
Tripping on the Light Fantastic : A Bit of a Look at Australian Film Adrian Mitchell , 1997 single work criticism
— Appears in: Sydney Studies in English , vol. 23 no. 1997;
'In the beginning is the word: there has to be a script. But even before a word is said there's light, and camera, and action. Films are before all else about light, and about what can be realised through light. That pre-eminence of light was acknowledged in the old-time movie theatres, in the custom, now regrettably lapsed, of having the projection illuminating the screen before the curtains were drawn open, so that the promised world of light could be glimpsed before revelation, symbolically seen through a veil which then parted — and behold, a new heaven and a new earth. Those who arrived late, after the houselights had gone down, followed their own little subdued pool of light, the usherette's torch, down the carpeted aisles.' (Author's abstract)
Australia's Peter Pan Sidney J. Baker , 1959 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 4 July 1959;

— Review of Walkabout Donald Gordon Payne James Vance Marshall 1959 single work novel
Australia's Peter Pan Sidney J. Baker , 1959 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 4 July 1959;

— Review of Walkabout Donald Gordon Payne James Vance Marshall 1959 single work novel
The Red Frog Prince : A Fairytale About the Shifting Social Status of Sugar Toni Risson , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: TEXT : Special Issue Website Series , October no. 9 2010;
'Once upon a time, sugar was a magical substance in an ordinary world. When it became cheap and readily available in the mid-nineteenth century, sugar and sugar confectionery became part of the ordinary diet, and have since fallen to the status of junk food, and, more recently, poison. But children relate to lollies at the level of imagination, so lollies are a vital part of the wonder of childhood and retain for children the magical cultural status once attributed to them. Allen’s red jelly frogs are banned from school tuckshops, but they play a noble role in opening doors for youth chaplains during the notorious Schoolies Week. Furthermore, the humble lolly descends from the elaborate sugarwork that once featured in royal banquets; it was noble all along. Lollies are no longer on the menu, and they do not even fit into food categories, but judgements based on food value alone fail to take into account the magical role they play in children’s lives and ignore the ways in which health authorities, artists, and advertisers use confectionery. Lollies have more in common with fairytales than food. The Frog Prince—a fairytale about a royal son who is turned into an ugly frog by a wicked enchantress and then rescued through his relationship with a child—is a metaphor for red frog lollies. This paper examines red frogs as sites of transformation, thereby repositioning sugar confectionery as magic and challenging dominant narratives that reduce the complexity of lollies and their cultural significance.' (Author's abstract)
Tripping on the Light Fantastic : A Bit of a Look at Australian Film Adrian Mitchell , 1997 single work criticism
— Appears in: Sydney Studies in English , vol. 23 no. 1997;
'In the beginning is the word: there has to be a script. But even before a word is said there's light, and camera, and action. Films are before all else about light, and about what can be realised through light. That pre-eminence of light was acknowledged in the old-time movie theatres, in the custom, now regrettably lapsed, of having the projection illuminating the screen before the curtains were drawn open, so that the promised world of light could be glimpsed before revelation, symbolically seen through a veil which then parted — and behold, a new heaven and a new earth. Those who arrived late, after the houselights had gone down, followed their own little subdued pool of light, the usherette's torch, down the carpeted aisles.' (Author's abstract)
The Two Walkabouts Leo Siegel , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: New York Review of Books , 12 January - 8 February vol. 59 no. 1 2012; (p. 34-35)
Walkabout Peter Pierce , 1999 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Country of Lost Children : An Australian Anxiety 1999; (p. 156-159)
Last amended 16 Jan 2012 14:39:32
Subjects:
  • Bush,
  • Sturt Plain, Mataranka - Tennant Creek area, Central Northern Territory, Northern Territory,
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