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This image has been sourced from online.
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y Tourmaline single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 1963 1963
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Once prosperous, the town of Tourmaline in outback Western Australia is dying. The mines are drying up and the land is riddled by drought. Those townspeople left have little to do but wile away the hours with drink.

'Salvation of sorts arrives in the form of Michael Random, a mysterious water diviner who emerges from the desert. As the town's reluctant messiah Random begins to spread the word of Christ. Desperate for a reprieve, many of the locals are drawn to his teachings, but a stubborn few remain sceptical of their new leader.

'A post-apocalyptic parable, Tourmaline is Randolph Stow's most allusive and controversial novel. It remains a landmark in Australian literature more than half a century after its first publication.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Text Classics).

Notes

  • Epigraph: O gens de peu de poids dans la memoire de ces lieux ... St.- John Perse: ANABASE
  • Dedication: For M.C.S.
  • Author's note: The action of this novel is to be imagined as taking place in the future. A first draft of Chapter 1 was published in Meanjin, No. 85 (1961).
  • Other formats: Also sound recording.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      MacDonald , 1963 .
      6204212344577895856.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 224p.
    • Harmondsworth, Middlesex,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Ringwood, Ringwood - Croydon - Kilsyth area, Melbourne - East, Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin , 1965 .
      Extent: 174p.
      Note/s:
      • 'An Australian Penguin Book'
      • Printed in Australia
      Series: Australian Penguin Books Penguin (publisher), series - publisher Number in series: AU15
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Taplinger Publishing , 1983 .
      Alternative title: Tourmaline : A Novel
      Extent: 221p.
      ISBN: 9780800877972, 0800877977
    • Port Melbourne, South Melbourne - Port Melbourne area, Melbourne - Inner South, Melbourne, Victoria,: London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Minerva , 1991 .
      Extent: 221p.
      ISBN: 074939188X (pbk)
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Text Publishing , 2015 .
      3145278875584177096.jpeg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Note/s:
      • Introduction by Gabrielle Carey.
      ISBN: 9781925240306
      Series: y Text Classics Text Publishing (publisher), Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2012- Z1851461 2012 series - publisher novel 'Great books by great Australian storytellers.' (Text website.)

Works about this Work

Books That Changed Me : Gabrielle Carey Gabrielle Carey , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 1 February 2015; (p. 16)
In Conscious Exile Geordie Williamson , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Monthly , November no. 117 2015; (p. 58-59)
'The Text Classics series has had some coups since its inauguration in 2012 - re-publication of works by David Ireland and Elizabeth Harrower spring to mind - but nothing on this scale. In August, Text reissued five novels by Randolph Stow, with accompanying essays by significant Australian writers and critics.' (Author's introduction)
Fraught with Danger and Promise : Re-Introducing Randolph Stow's Tourmaline (1963) Gabrielle Carey , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: Island , no. 142 2015; (p. 57-59)
Gold, but Not Water Nicolas Rothwell , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 22-23 August 2015; (p. 16-17)

— Review of The Girl Green as Elderflower Randolph Stow 1980 single work novel ; The Suburbs of Hell : A Novel Randolph Stow 1984 single work novel ; To the Islands Randolph Stow 1958 single work novel ; Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel ; Visitants Randolph Stow 1979 single work novel
Well Read Katharine England , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 19 September 2015; (p. 28)

— Review of To the Islands Randolph Stow 1958 single work novel ; The Girl Green as Elderflower Randolph Stow 1980 single work novel ; Visitants Randolph Stow 1979 single work novel ; The Suburbs of Hell : A Novel Randolph Stow 1984 single work novel ; Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel
Mining for Stories : The Boom-and-Bust Mining Literature Cycle Claire Jones , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 4 March 2014;
Heriot's Ithaka : Soul, Country and the Possibility of Home in To The Islands Bernadette Brennan , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 14 no. 3 2014;
'The final line of Randolph Stow's To the Islands - " 'My soul', he whispered, over the sea-surge, 'my should is a strange country'" - has perplexed and fascinated readers and critics for five decades. In 1975 Leonie Kramer found Stow's final sentence to be misplaced: ‘It belongs – if indeed it belongs at all – not at the end of a novel of this kind, but near the beginning'. At a time when interest in Stow and his work is again on the ascendency, this paper investigates what Heriot might have appreciated his soul to be, before arguing that he could not have spoken those resonant words until the very moment when he is blinded by illumination atop the coastal cliff. Heriot walks into homelessness in a quest for home. Like Cavafy's ideal voyager his journey is long and hard, and only once he discovers his soul can he appreciate he has no home. Only then can he understand the true meaning of the islands.' (Publication abstract)
Sound and Music in the Works of Randolph Stow Fiona Richards , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , December vol. 27 no. 2 2013; (p. 177-183)
'Music resonates through the works of Randolph Stow (1935-2010), with landscape, sounds, and words entwined across his elegant and lyrical output. Just as the author describes Shakespeare as having words for every emotion, so has Stow a song for every situation, with specific pieces of music used to locate fiction in time and place. Here, Richards talks about the sound and music in the works of Randolph Stow. Music in performance has a strong presence in his writings, from domestic gatherings to country music, Christian worship and indigenous rituals.' (Publication abstract)
Old Copmanhurst Gillian Mears , 2012 single work autobiography
— Appears in: The Best Australian Essays 2012 2012; (p. 123-135) Meanjin , Autumn vol. 71 no. 1 2012; (p. 104-115)
The Islands of Randolph Stow Fiona Richards , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 72 no. 3 2012; (p. 103-118)

'Randolph Stow (1935-2010) prefaced his novel To the Islands with this quotation [see epigraph below] drawn from the writings of his great great uncle. Coming from an island that is also a continent, where 'arguably, 'island-ness' was and still is at the core of the Australian worldview' (Davies and Neuenfeldt, 2004: 137), the notion of 'island', sometimes imaginary, sometimes having a geographical precision, is manifest in Stow's writings in many different ways. An aura of mystery pervades all of his novels, the sea is often present, and there are recurring themes of isolation and boundedness.' (Author's introduction)

The Sorrows of Young Randolph : Nature/ Culture and Colonialism in Stow’s Fiction Paul Sharrad , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Kunapipi , vol. 34 no. 2 2012; (p. 10-22)
'Helen Tiffin has worked consistently around the possibilities of dismantling the structures and habits of thought of colonialism. In doing so, she has investigated possibilities of counter-formations: to literary canons, to the assumptions underlying canons (1993), to history and its narrative modes (1983), and to colonialist discourse (1987). As her work has progressed, the demolition job on prejudicial boundaries between self and other has shifted direction from place to race to gender and thence to examining the boundaries between humans and nature, people and animals (2001). Throughout, her literary focus has been consistently on the Caribbean, but she has also analysed aspects of the Australian writer, Randolph Stow, notably Tourmaline (1978) and Visitants (1981). Her interest at the time was in texts that worked to undo Eurocentric colonialism, but if she revisited his work now, she might well look at how Stow’s work shows connections between post/colonial cultures and problematic relations between humans and nature. What follows is a sketch of a reading.' (Publication summary)
The Solid Mandala and Patrick White’s Late Modernity Nicholas Birns , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Transnational Literature , November vol. 4 no. 1 2011;
'This essay contends that the Australian novelist Patrick White (1912-1990) presents, in his novel The Solid Mandala (1966), a prototypical evocation of late modernity that indicates precisely why and how it was different from the neoliberal and postmodern era that succeeded it. Late modernity is currently emerging as a historical period, though still a nascent and contested one. Robert Hassan speaks of the 1950-1970 era as a period which, in its 'Fordist' mode of production maintained a certain conformity yet held off the commoditisation of later neoliberalism's 'network-driven capitalism'. This anchors the sense of 'late modernity,' that will operate in this essay, though my sense of the period also follows on definitions of the term established, in very different contexts, by Edward Lucie-Smith and Tyrus Miller.' (Author's introduction)
'Bitter Heritage' or New Birth? Two Novels by Randolph Stow Andrew Taylor , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Le Simplegadi , November no. 9 2011; (p. 149-159)
Randolph Stow's two novels, To the Islands and Tourmaline, are set in the remote and arid north of Western Australia. Its hostile environment is depicted as a site of spiritual purgation and desolation. But today iron and gas deposits of enormous value have been discovered in the area and this adjacent ocean, and some of the world's largest industrial developments threaten both its fragile ecology and its storehouse of priceless Indigenous rock art. Stow's novels are read as warnings of how easily success can disintegrate into hopelessness, and how tenuous our grip on spiritual fulfillment can be. [Author's abstract]
Ecological Allegory : Tourmaline, An Example David Fonteyn , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , no. 10 2010;
'Allegories contain specific forms and techniques which define a text as an allegory. Furthermore, the reading of allegory as allegory differs markedly from contemporary reading practices. For example, there is a specific intention written into the text. The reader is required to determine that intention in order to uncover the allegory. That is, the reader's freedom to interpret the text is constrained by the text's allegorical devices. Furthermore, the text functions didactically to educate the reader in a certain way, and, through that education, transform the reader. This is the traditional function of allegory.
I argue that Randolph Stow's novel, Tourmaline, is one such allegory. Furthermore, in Stow's novel, the allegorical mode is being used in order to educate the reader about an ecological worldview of land. The intention is to bring about a specific reader, one who through the reading of the allegory, develops what the philosopher, Freya Mathews, calls a "votive" relationship to land and the natural environment.
As such, allegory is a literary mode in which Australian writers such as Stow and their reading publics are engaging in environmental politics.' (Author's abstract)
Toxic Flowers : Randolph Stow's Unfused Horizons Kerry Leves , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , no. 10 2010;
'In the Preface to his 1982 revision of To The Islands (first published 1958), Randolph Stow describes himself as a 'fanatical realist'. Re-reading Stow's texts suggests that if Stow's realism is 'fanatical', it is so because his writing continually, if unobtrusively, foregrounds language as that which mediates reality. We read the reflexiveness of Stow's texts more readily when we are paying attention to their intertextuality, along with their use of devices such as mise en abyme and cinematic or theatrical tableau, and sign making. One prominent sign in the Stow oeuvre is that of flowers as offerings. Whether presented to God, self or another person, flowers are at best ambiguous gifts, nuanced with various kinds of toxicity. This article discusses two examples. In the first, verbal 'flowers', part of an ancient children's dancing game, are embraced as if they were real by the protagonist of Stow's first novel, A Haunted Land (1956). In the second, from Tourmaline (1963), flowers on the altar of a ruined church correlate with the mysticism of a saint-like Aboriginal woman, Gloria Day; but also with the estranging dominance of the white settler-invader culture. The remainder of the article discusses the 'toxic flowers' of Charles Baudelaire's poem-cycle Les Fleurs du Mal (Flowers of Evil) as the informing intertext of Stow's To The Islands. The article reads intertexts as Gadamerian 'horizons', that are continually revised.' (Author's abstract)
An Imperishable Spring? Stow’s Tourmaline, the Cold War and the Phenomenon of the Star Kerry Leves , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Reading Across the Pacific : Australia-United States Intellectual Histories 2010; (p. 255-264)
'Published in 1963, the year after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Tourmaline points toward Cold War horizons. America, the guardian of the free world after World War II, was bolstered in its resistance to Communism by Christian revivalism, two of whose most gifted exponents, the Catholic priest Father Patrick Peyton and the Protestant evangelist Dr Billy Graham, made successful visits to Australia in the 1950s. In Stow's Tourmaline, the "esprit de corps" of a drought-stricken, impoverished former goldmining town in the Western Australian desert undergoes Christian revival thanks to a water diviner who calls himself Michael Random. Blond, blue-eyed, handsome and athletic, Michael is nonetheless in a state of religious crisis that is alleviated only when an old Aboriginal woman, Gloria Day, refers him to one of Jesus' parables. But Michael is already a star by virtue of the townspeople's reception of him: whether they love him or subject him to a hermeneutics of suspicion (one of the characters sarcastically calls him "the witch doctor"), Michael's every move fascinates the Tourmaliners. In the course of the novel, Michael's star is eclipsed, perhaps on the very terms of the parable cited by Gloria Day. Polarised around religious certainties and uncertainties, encompassing unrequited passions and Western-movie-style power struggles, Tourmaline could be described as an epistemological melodrama. Besides Tourmaline, the paper draws on Stow's The Bystander (1957) and Visitants (1979) for evidence of a complex, nuanced relationship between Stow's Australia, a mediated United States of America, and the 'star' phenomenon.' (Author's abstract)
Vanishing Wunderkind Anthony J. Hassall , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , September no. 314 2009; (p. 29-31)
Literature in the Arid Zone Tom Lynch , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Littoral Zone : Australian Contexts and Their Writers 2007; (p. 70-92)
This chapter surveys and assesses from an ecocentric perspective some representative literary portrayals of the Australian deserts. Generally, it contrasts works that portray the desert as an alien, hostile, and undifferentiated void with works that recognise and value the biological particularities of specific desert places. It explores the literature of three dominant cultural orientations to the deserts: pastoralism, mining, and traversal. It concludes with a consideration of several multi-voiced and/or multi-genred bioregionally informed works that suggests fruitful directions for more ecocentric literary approaches. (abstract taken from The Littoral Zone)
The Modernist Sacred : Randolph Stow and Patrick White Lars Andersson , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , October vol. 23 no. 2 2007; (p. 199-212)

'In this essay, the radical potentialities of modernism's dialogue with notions of the sacred will be analysed, with a particular focus on the active construction of a transcendental spirituality that functions as a rejection of hegemonic forces. I will argue that Randolph Stow constructs a place in which hegemonic symbolisation–the alienating forms of language that separate subjects from the real–can be challenged or subverted. I will also argue that Patrick White's fiction develops further the anti-hegemonic exploration of the sacred. In particular, I will explore the ways in which White's novel Voss engages with concepts of the sacred, only to challenge direct notions of religious identification. This novel has provoked a series of interpretative gestures which privilege a Christian framework, without any political context which could help to explain the ethics of White's treatment of the sacred. Thus, the current analysis will aim to re-politicise the reading of White's novel, as a text that articulates a challenge to the hegemony of meaning in a colonial (and post-colonial) context.' (Extract from article)

The Modernist Sacred : Randolph Stow and Patrick White Lars Andersson , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , October vol. 23 no. 2 2007; (p. 199-212)

'In this essay, the radical potentialities of modernism's dialogue with notions of the sacred will be analysed, with a particular focus on the active construction of a transcendental spirituality that functions as a rejection of hegemonic forces. I will argue that Randolph Stow constructs a place in which hegemonic symbolisation–the alienating forms of language that separate subjects from the real–can be challenged or subverted. I will also argue that Patrick White's fiction develops further the anti-hegemonic exploration of the sacred. In particular, I will explore the ways in which White's novel Voss engages with concepts of the sacred, only to challenge direct notions of religious identification. This novel has provoked a series of interpretative gestures which privilege a Christian framework, without any political context which could help to explain the ethics of White's treatment of the sacred. Thus, the current analysis will aim to re-politicise the reading of White's novel, as a text that articulates a challenge to the hegemony of meaning in a colonial (and post-colonial) context.' (Extract from article)

Remembering Stow Thomas Shapcott , 2002-2003 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , December-January no. 247 2002-2003; (p. 64)

— Review of To the Islands Randolph Stow 1958 single work novel ; Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel
Untitled James Wells-Green , 2003 single work review
— Appears in: JAS Review of Books , March no. 13 2003;

— Review of Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel
Allusive but Timely Elizabeth Perkins , 2002 single work review
— Appears in: Social Alternatives , Spring vol. 21 no. 4 2002; (p. 57-58)

— Review of Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel ; To the Islands Randolph Stow 1958 single work novel
Special Notices Barry Pree , 1963 single work review
— Appears in: The London Magazine , June vol. 3 no. 3 1963; (p. 87-88)

— Review of Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel
A Novel Chronicle D. R. Burns , 1964 single work review
— Appears in: Prospect , vol. 7 no. 1 1964; (p. 27-29)

— Review of The Tilted Cross Hal Porter 1961 single work novel ; The Well Dressed Explorer Thea Astley 1962 single work novel ; The Cupboard Under the Stairs George Turner 1962 single work novel ; Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel ; The Hollow Woodheap David Forrest 1962 single work novel
Spiritual Journeys Hold Plenty of Intrigue Herb Hild , 1992 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 12 January 1992; (p. 19)

— Review of Corroboree Graham Masterton 1984 single work novel ; Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel ; To the Islands Randolph Stow 1958 single work novel ; The Girl Green as Elderflower Randolph Stow 1980 single work novel
A Job Lot David Hutchison , 1963 single work review
— Appears in: Westerly , September no. 3 1963; (p. 77,79-80)

— Review of Childhood at Brindabella : My First Ten Years Miles Franklin 1962 single work autobiography ; Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel
Immoderate Lives: Four New Novels Harry Payne Heseltine , 1963 single work review
— Appears in: Meanjin Quarterly , December vol. 22 no. 4 1963; (p. 422-426)

— Review of Venus Half-Caste Leonard Mann 1963 single work novel ; Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel
Eternity in the Never-Never Keith Thomas , 1963 single work review
— Appears in: Nation , 13 July 1963; (p. 22-23)

— Review of Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel
Not a Drop to Drink Clement Semmler , 1963 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , June vol. 2 no. 8 1963; (p. 124-125)

— Review of Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel
Untitled Dorothy Hewett , 1963 single work review
— Appears in: The Critic , 19 July vol. 4 no. 4 1963; (p. 32)

— Review of Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel
Untitled H. G. Kippax , 1963 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 29 June 1963; (p. 13)

— Review of Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel
Heritage of Dust : Randolph Stow's Wasteland Leonie Kramer , 1963 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 6 July vol. 85 no. 4351 1963; (p. 41)

— Review of Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel
Untitled 1963 single work review
— Appears in: The Times Literary Supplement , 5 April 1963; (p. 229)

— Review of Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel
Untitled J. Lewis , 1963 single work review
— Appears in: The Spectator , 5 April 1963; (p. 537)

— Review of Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel
Untitled 1963 single work review
— Appears in: The Times , 25 April 1963; (p. 15)

— Review of Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel
Untitled 1963 single work review
— Appears in: Times Weekly Review , 2 May 1963; (p. 13)

— Review of Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel
Untitled A. Nicholls , 1963 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 25 May 1963; (p. 18)

— Review of Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel
Untitled R. Taubman , 1963 single work review
— Appears in: New Statesman , 24 May 1963; (p. 802)

— Review of Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel
Poles Apart David Forrest , 1964 single work review
— Appears in: Overland , Autumn no. 29 1964; (p. 60-61)

— Review of Legends from Benson's Valley Frank Hardy 1963 selected work short story ; Tourmaline Randolph Stow 1963 single work novel
Paradoxes of Non- Existence : Questions of Time, Metaphor and the Materialities of Cultural Traditions in Wilson Harris's Discussions of Australian Literary Texts Brigitta Olubas , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Cultural History , no. 21 2002; (p. 81-88, notes 122)
Olubas examines the way in which Caribbean writer Wilson Harris's 'account of national traditions and of the national and cultural provenances and imaginitive inheritances of particular writers directs attention ... toward broader, unexpected imaginitive, aesthetic and representational traditions, explicitly colonial, often violent, which yet enhance our readings of the complex high points of national literary traditions and figures ... [and] presents us with other ways to take up the relations between texts, within as well as across (national) cultural traditions' (p. 88).
Messiahs and Millennia in Randolph Stow's Novels Robyn Wallace , 1981 single work criticism
— Appears in: Kunapipi , vol. 3 no. 2 1981; (p. 56-72)

'The novels I shall concentrate on in discussing messiahs and millennia in Stow's work are To the Islands, Tourmaline, Visitants, and The Girl Green as Elderflower. Tourmaline and Visitants are the two which most clearly relate to millenarian themes. Tourmaline records the growth, and collapse, of a millenarian cult centred on the messianic or would-be messianic figure of the diviner Michael Random. Visitants is a structurally more complex exploration of three millenarian visions and their communal and personal repercussions, although the connotations of the title are not restricted to cargo or flying saucer cults.' (Publication abstract)

'Just Enough Religion to Make Us Hate': The Case of Tourmaline and Oyster Richard Scott Carr , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 18 no. 1 2004; (p. 9-15)
Carr asserts that 'Stow and Hospital use fiction to explore the devestation wrought on a community whose long-suppressed spiritual desires find their outlet in the perverse and destructive.' He contends that 'the residents of Tourmaline and Outer Maroo, in refusing to address their alienation from their environment and themselves, ensure the disaster that closes both novels.'
Words of Water : Reading Otherness in Tourmaline and Oyster Bernadette Brennan , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 3 no. 2004; (p. 143-157)
Literature in the Arid Zone Tom Lynch , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Littoral Zone : Australian Contexts and Their Writers 2007; (p. 70-92)
This chapter surveys and assesses from an ecocentric perspective some representative literary portrayals of the Australian deserts. Generally, it contrasts works that portray the desert as an alien, hostile, and undifferentiated void with works that recognise and value the biological particularities of specific desert places. It explores the literature of three dominant cultural orientations to the deserts: pastoralism, mining, and traversal. It concludes with a consideration of several multi-voiced and/or multi-genred bioregionally informed works that suggests fruitful directions for more ecocentric literary approaches. (abstract taken from The Littoral Zone)
The Modernist Sacred : Randolph Stow and Patrick White Lars Andersson , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , October vol. 23 no. 2 2007; (p. 199-212)

'In this essay, the radical potentialities of modernism's dialogue with notions of the sacred will be analysed, with a particular focus on the active construction of a transcendental spirituality that functions as a rejection of hegemonic forces. I will argue that Randolph Stow constructs a place in which hegemonic symbolisation–the alienating forms of language that separate subjects from the real–can be challenged or subverted. I will also argue that Patrick White's fiction develops further the anti-hegemonic exploration of the sacred. In particular, I will explore the ways in which White's novel Voss engages with concepts of the sacred, only to challenge direct notions of religious identification. This novel has provoked a series of interpretative gestures which privilege a Christian framework, without any political context which could help to explain the ethics of White's treatment of the sacred. Thus, the current analysis will aim to re-politicise the reading of White's novel, as a text that articulates a challenge to the hegemony of meaning in a colonial (and post-colonial) context.' (Extract from article)

The Millinarians : A Discussion of Randolph Stow's Tourmaline Nidhi Bhagat , 1989-1990 single work criticism
— Appears in: Rajasthan University Studies in English , vol. 21-22 no. 1989-1990; (p. 132-144)
Randolph Stow's Tourmaline and To the Islands Gerald Moore , 1987 single work criticism
— Appears in: The International Fiction Review , vol. 14 no. 2 1987; (p. 68-74)
The Conradian Intertext in the Fiction of Randolph Stow : Tourmaline and Lord Jim Werner Senn , 1990 single work criticism
— Appears in: Conradian : Journal of the Joseph Conrad Society , June vol. 15 no. 1 1990; (p. 12-29)
Vanishing Wunderkind Anthony J. Hassall , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , September no. 314 2009; (p. 29-31)
Constructing Emptiness : Ennio Morricone and Randolph Stow Andrew Taylor , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Landscapes , vol. 2 no. 3 2004;

'This paper looks at the construction of emptiness in the works of two artists: the Italian film composer Ennio Morricone and the Australian novelist Randolph Stow. The relevant texts are the music Morricone wrote for Sergio Leone's epic Once upon a Time in the West, and Stow's novels To the Islands and Tourmaline. Two different constructions of emptiness (including the Taost one) are compared, the contradiction inherent in its apprehension is discussed, and there is speculation on how such a concept could gain entry into genres one of whose functions is to obliterate it.' (Author's abstract)

Ecological Allegory : Tourmaline, An Example David Fonteyn , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , no. 10 2010;
'Allegories contain specific forms and techniques which define a text as an allegory. Furthermore, the reading of allegory as allegory differs markedly from contemporary reading practices. For example, there is a specific intention written into the text. The reader is required to determine that intention in order to uncover the allegory. That is, the reader's freedom to interpret the text is constrained by the text's allegorical devices. Furthermore, the text functions didactically to educate the reader in a certain way, and, through that education, transform the reader. This is the traditional function of allegory.
I argue that Randolph Stow's novel, Tourmaline, is one such allegory. Furthermore, in Stow's novel, the allegorical mode is being used in order to educate the reader about an ecological worldview of land. The intention is to bring about a specific reader, one who through the reading of the allegory, develops what the philosopher, Freya Mathews, calls a "votive" relationship to land and the natural environment.
As such, allegory is a literary mode in which Australian writers such as Stow and their reading publics are engaging in environmental politics.' (Author's abstract)
Toxic Flowers : Randolph Stow's Unfused Horizons Kerry Leves , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , no. 10 2010;
'In the Preface to his 1982 revision of To The Islands (first published 1958), Randolph Stow describes himself as a 'fanatical realist'. Re-reading Stow's texts suggests that if Stow's realism is 'fanatical', it is so because his writing continually, if unobtrusively, foregrounds language as that which mediates reality. We read the reflexiveness of Stow's texts more readily when we are paying attention to their intertextuality, along with their use of devices such as mise en abyme and cinematic or theatrical tableau, and sign making. One prominent sign in the Stow oeuvre is that of flowers as offerings. Whether presented to God, self or another person, flowers are at best ambiguous gifts, nuanced with various kinds of toxicity. This article discusses two examples. In the first, verbal 'flowers', part of an ancient children's dancing game, are embraced as if they were real by the protagonist of Stow's first novel, A Haunted Land (1956). In the second, from Tourmaline (1963), flowers on the altar of a ruined church correlate with the mysticism of a saint-like Aboriginal woman, Gloria Day; but also with the estranging dominance of the white settler-invader culture. The remainder of the article discusses the 'toxic flowers' of Charles Baudelaire's poem-cycle Les Fleurs du Mal (Flowers of Evil) as the informing intertext of Stow's To The Islands. The article reads intertexts as Gadamerian 'horizons', that are continually revised.' (Author's abstract)
An Imperishable Spring? Stow’s Tourmaline, the Cold War and the Phenomenon of the Star Kerry Leves , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Reading Across the Pacific : Australia-United States Intellectual Histories 2010; (p. 255-264)
'Published in 1963, the year after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Tourmaline points toward Cold War horizons. America, the guardian of the free world after World War II, was bolstered in its resistance to Communism by Christian revivalism, two of whose most gifted exponents, the Catholic priest Father Patrick Peyton and the Protestant evangelist Dr Billy Graham, made successful visits to Australia in the 1950s. In Stow's Tourmaline, the "esprit de corps" of a drought-stricken, impoverished former goldmining town in the Western Australian desert undergoes Christian revival thanks to a water diviner who calls himself Michael Random. Blond, blue-eyed, handsome and athletic, Michael is nonetheless in a state of religious crisis that is alleviated only when an old Aboriginal woman, Gloria Day, refers him to one of Jesus' parables. But Michael is already a star by virtue of the townspeople's reception of him: whether they love him or subject him to a hermeneutics of suspicion (one of the characters sarcastically calls him "the witch doctor"), Michael's every move fascinates the Tourmaliners. In the course of the novel, Michael's star is eclipsed, perhaps on the very terms of the parable cited by Gloria Day. Polarised around religious certainties and uncertainties, encompassing unrequited passions and Western-movie-style power struggles, Tourmaline could be described as an epistemological melodrama. Besides Tourmaline, the paper draws on Stow's The Bystander (1957) and Visitants (1979) for evidence of a complex, nuanced relationship between Stow's Australia, a mediated United States of America, and the 'star' phenomenon.' (Author's abstract)
The Solid Mandala and Patrick White’s Late Modernity Nicholas Birns , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Transnational Literature , November vol. 4 no. 1 2011;
'This essay contends that the Australian novelist Patrick White (1912-1990) presents, in his novel The Solid Mandala (1966), a prototypical evocation of late modernity that indicates precisely why and how it was different from the neoliberal and postmodern era that succeeded it. Late modernity is currently emerging as a historical period, though still a nascent and contested one. Robert Hassan speaks of the 1950-1970 era as a period which, in its 'Fordist' mode of production maintained a certain conformity yet held off the commoditisation of later neoliberalism's 'network-driven capitalism'. This anchors the sense of 'late modernity,' that will operate in this essay, though my sense of the period also follows on definitions of the term established, in very different contexts, by Edward Lucie-Smith and Tyrus Miller.' (Author's introduction)
'Bitter Heritage' or New Birth? Two Novels by Randolph Stow Andrew Taylor , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Le Simplegadi , November no. 9 2011; (p. 149-159)
Randolph Stow's two novels, To the Islands and Tourmaline, are set in the remote and arid north of Western Australia. Its hostile environment is depicted as a site of spiritual purgation and desolation. But today iron and gas deposits of enormous value have been discovered in the area and this adjacent ocean, and some of the world's largest industrial developments threaten both its fragile ecology and its storehouse of priceless Indigenous rock art. Stow's novels are read as warnings of how easily success can disintegrate into hopelessness, and how tenuous our grip on spiritual fulfillment can be. [Author's abstract]
Old Copmanhurst Gillian Mears , 2012 single work autobiography
— Appears in: The Best Australian Essays 2012 2012; (p. 123-135) Meanjin , Autumn vol. 71 no. 1 2012; (p. 104-115)
Randolph Stow Candida Baker (interviewer), 1989 single work biography interview
— Appears in: Yacker 3 : Australian Writers Talk About Their Work 1989; (p. 284-300)
Language, Silence and the Laws of the Land: Randolph Stow's `Tourmaline' Russell McDougall , 1990 single work criticism
— Appears in: Aspects of Australian Fiction : Essays Presented to John Colmer, Professor Emeritus of English, The University of Adelaide 1990; (p. 127-147)
The Man Behind the Pseudonym Richard Wallace (interviewer), 1985 single work biography interview
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 1 June 1985; (p. 17)
Last amended 3 Jul 2015 13:30:19
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