Issue Details: First known date: 2012 2012
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'Alex Miller began publishing his novels in 1988 at the end of a period of intense debate in literary circles about the ethics of representation, a debate informed by feminism, multiculturalism and postcolonialism. Put crudely, the debate was about whether white, male writers from first-world countries, the dominant literary players up to this point, should continue to have open slather in writing about their others, i.e. those who were not white or male, now that these others were at last finding their voices and writing back.

In Australia, the debate was particularly focused on the question of white writers' representation of Aboriginals. Indeed, in 1979 I was told, after giving a conference paper on colonial poems about Aboriginals, that I was lucky there were no Aboriginals in the audience. But in feminist circles male appropriation of female voices was also a major issue. Although a total ban on representations of others would clearly have meant the end of fiction as we know it, these debates did draw attention to the stereotyped representations of women, Aboriginals, Chinese and other 'others' found in much earlier Australian writing.

When I first read Alex Miller, soon after The Ancestor Game was published in 1992, I was struck by the unusual empathy shown here for his female characters and their predicaments, as well as by his insightful depictions of people from other cultures. These have continued to be hallmarks of his fiction, with representations of 'otherness' also extending to animals, especially in The Tivington Nott and Landscape of Farewell. My paper, however, will have as its focus The Ancestor Game, Conditions of Faith and Lovesong.' (Author's abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y The Novels of Alex Miller : An Introduction Robert Dixon , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2012 Z1856233 2012 anthology criticism 'One of Australia's most respected novelists, Alex Miller's writing is both popular and critically well-received. He is twice winner of Australia's premier literary prize, the Miles Franklin Award. He has said that writing is his way of 'locating connections' and his work is known for its deeply empathic engagement with relationships and cultures.

    This collection explores his early and later works, including Miller's best-known novels, The Ancestor Game, Journey to the Stone Country, Lovesong and Autumn Laing. Contributors examine his intricately constructed plots, his interest in the nature of home and migration, the representation in his work of Australian history and culture, and key recurring themes including art and Aboriginal issues. Also included is a memoir, illustrated by photographs from his personal collection, in which Alex Miller reflects on his writing life.

    With contributions from leading critics including Raimond Gaita, Peter Pierce, Ronald A. Sharp, Brenda Walker, Elizabeth Webby and Geordie Williamson, this collection is the first substantial critical analysis of Alex Miller's work. It is an invaluable resource for anyone teaching and studying contemporary Australian literature.' (Publisher's blurb)
    Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2012
    pg. 114-124
Last amended 11 Jul 2012