McCredden poses a series of questions: 'Is Australian identity always and peculiarly constituted by dreams of elsewhere? In less romantic terms, are all forms of identity--individual, communal, national--riven, needing to be understood always in relation to what they are not?' Broadly answering 'yes' she asks further: 'what effects does this rivenness of subjectivity, in its multiple forms, produce in Australia and in particular in relation to that institution of "Aust. Lit."?'
In relation to Australia's colonial and post-colonial cultures, McCredden asks: 'what ghosting or scape-goating ... haunts and even tears apart Australian models of identity-making, in both the creative and critical wings of Aust. Lit. What can or should a national literature be in this haunted context? Finally, I want to ask how these hauntings, this rivenness might be negotiated for the future of any possible national literary cultures.'
Catherine Padmore's article seeks to understand the 'spectral effect' of Dead Europe. She explores 'two (out of many possible) main ideas, both of which involve a form of literary possession. These are:
1. The strategic use of the ghost story form to produce uncanny effects;
2. The lingering and difficult question of whether or not this novel is anti-Semitic.' (p.53)
Padmore concludes: 'Dead Europe can disturb readers on a number of levels. It uses traditional ghost story techniques and encourages reader identification with a confronting character to create a compelling literary possession not simply between characters within the book but between book and reader. In this way it provokes, but does not answer, multiple questions. Lodged in me, the novel's ghosts continue to provoke, unsettle and disturb, long after reading has finished.' (p.62)
Echoing Judith Wright, David Crouch identifies two twisted strands in the Australian postcolonial condition - a love of the land and an invader's guilt. This 'non-indigenous desire to belong to a stolen land' gives the Australian ghost story 'a particular resonance ... In this country the presence of ghosts can be read as traces of historical traumas, fears which are often exposed in expressions of apprehensive (un)settlement.' Crouch aims to draw out some reflections on this perturbance in the Australian consciousness 'by reading Hume Nisbet's mobilisation of a phantasmic topology in his story "The Haunted Station" alongside the unsettling ghosts of Tim Winton's Cloudstreet.
Crouch concludes, in part, that both stories 'seem concerned with the continuity and legitimacy of settlement'. The haunted houses in both tales 'navigate the tensions surrounding the occupation of place in Australia' and both are 'undercut by the awareness of displaced indigenous habitation and suggest a moral disturbance in the non-indigenous Australian relationship with place'. It is conceivable, Crouch argues, that 'the ghost story itself is a way of silencing an indigenous presence within a discursive structure that asserts the legitimacy of non-indigenous occupation.'
Lachlan Brown's article 'focuses on three ways of reading Hart's poetry using three "shadows" that appear to hang over some of his early work. Firstly the representational shadow, secondly the shadow of death and thirdly a kind of theological shadow, which speaks some interesting things onto the other two shadows.' (p.106) Brown also identifies 'three areas where Hart's Catholic faith may intersect' with poetic and philosophical issues to which Brown draws attention.
Sue King-Smith says: 'There are three main spectres in Wright's poetry that this article addresses. The first relates to the loss and separation Wright experienced when she became aware of the history of the land she had felt a profound sense of identification with since early childhood ... The second spectre relates to the traces of Aboriginal massacres and dispossessions. And the third is the spectre of the indigenous landscape that existed prior to British occupation, with a substantial number of indigenous species of flora and fauna now extinct.
'This article will argue that these spectres are intimately linked in Wright's writing and that her poetic and private relationships with the Australian landscape are constantly mediated by the need to acknowledge these ghosts.' (pp.117-118)