6675743643663189995.jpg
This image has been sourced from online
2856691582690114612.jpg
This image has been sourced from online
4433121231886661091.jpg
This image has been sourced from online
5538622082091873709.jpg
This image has been sourced from online.
3632906721095649689.jpg
Image courtesy of publisher's website.
y An Imaginary Life : A Novel single work   novel  
  • Author: David Malouf http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/malouf-david
Issue Details: First known date: 1978... 1978 An Imaginary Life : A Novel
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'In prose that is both elegant and lyrical, David Malouf departs from the little-known facts of Ovid's exile beyond the pale of civilization to create a deeply moving novel of extraordinary beauty. An outcast in a vast wasteland at the edge of the Black Sea, Ovid discovers a feral child. As he teaches the boy to speak the language of the civilized world, the child tutors him in his own tongue, the language of nature, and the once barren landscape begins to resonate with meaning.' (Publisher's blurb)

Adaptations

An Imaginary Life Kim Carpenter , 1986 single work drama

A stage adaptation of David Malouf's novel about the friendship between the exiled Ovid and a feral child.

Notes

  • Dedication: To Christopher.
  • Other formats: Also braille, sound recording.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      George Braziller ,
      1978 .
      2856691582690114612.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online
      Extent: 154p.
      Reprinted: 1978 ,
      ISBN: 090760884X
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Chatto and Windus ,
      1978 .
      6675743643663189995.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online
      Extent: 154p.
      Reprinted: 1993
      ISBN: 0701123664
      • Publisher: Pan
      Sydney, New South Wales,: Pan , 1980 .
      4433121231886661091.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online
      Extent: 154p.
      Reprinted: 1982 , 1984 , 1988 , 1989 , 1990 , 1992
      ISBN: 0330270044
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Toronto, Ontario,
      c
      Canada,
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Vintage ,
      1996 .
      5538622082091873709.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 154p.
      ISBN: 0679767932
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Vintage ,
      1999 .
      3632906721095649689.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 154p.
      ISBN: 0099273845
Alternative title: Ett forvandlat liv
Language: Swedish
    • Malmo,
      c
      Sweden,
      c
      Scandinavia, Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Forum ,
      1981 .
      Extent: 151p.
      ISBN: 9137074180

Works about this Work

Book Culture, A Delicate Balance David Malouf , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: #SaveOzStories 2016;

'The ecology of a culture may be as fragile, as precariously balanced, as the one we call Nature. We should be very sure of how that balance has been achieved and continues to work before we think of adjusting or ‘improving’ it.' (Introduction)

Australia and the Post-Colonial Novel Helen Andrews , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Quadrant , October vol. 59 no. 10 2015; (p. 70-73)
The Case for David Malouf’s An Imaginary Life Dallas J. Baker , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: The Conversation , 15 July 2014;

— Review of An Imaginary Life : A Novel David Malouf 1978 single work novel
Homo Ferus : The Unification of the Human and the Environmental in David Malouf's An Imaginary Life Bridget Grogan , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Scrutiny2 , vol. 19 no. 2 2014; (p. 8-29)
'This essay presents a postcolonial, ecocritical reading of Australian author David Malouf's celebrated novel, An imaginary life (1978). By now an important name in contemporary postcolonial literature, Malouf has yet to be discussed as an author who attempts to explode both colonial and human-centred myths and tropes in a manner that promotes a linguistically sensitive, body- and nature-centred vision. As this essay will argue, Malouf's writing, in its critique of Enlightenment values that have led to the racial classification of humans and modernity's dismissal of the importance of the environment, advances a unique postcolonial and ecological aesthetic. One way in which An imaginary life interrogates Enlightenment values is through its interest in the figure of the “feral child”, a “discovery” or construction of the Enlightenment era itself. The term “feral child” derives from Linnaeus's category “Homo ferus”, appearing in the tenth edition of his Systema naturae (The system of nature). Classified alongside Linnaeus's racial human categories (like Homo Afer and Homo Europaeus), Homo ferus emerges concurrently with the colonial obsession with racial “otherness”. For Malouf, however, the feral human eludes the categorisation of taxonomy specifically and language in general: blurring the “human” and “nature”, it undermines the scientific classification of humankind, and without language, it embodies the possibility of human being-in-nature beyond the influence of symbolic enculturation. In An imaginary life, the wordless immersion of the feral child in the environment allegorises the novel's intention – to produce another form of language, a poetic, allusive language transcending classification and chronology, and enacting the unification of the “human” and the “natural”.' (Publication abstract)
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)
Untitled Kate Eldred , 1978 single work review
— Appears in: New Republic , 13 May no. 178 1978; (p. 36)

— Review of An Imaginary Life : A Novel David Malouf 1978 single work novel
Untitled Helen McNeil , 1978 single work review
— Appears in: New Statesman , 15 September no. 96 1978; (p. 338)

— Review of An Imaginary Life : A Novel David Malouf 1978 single work novel
Untitled Rowe Portis , 1978 single work review
— Appears in: Library Journal , 1 March no. 103 1978; (p. 587)

— Review of An Imaginary Life : A Novel David Malouf 1978 single work novel
The Parable of the Child and the Nose Geoffrey Dutton , 1978 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 17 October vol. 99 no. 5131 1978; (p. 75-76)

— Review of An Imaginary Life : A Novel David Malouf 1978 single work novel
Printout Helen Frizell , 1978 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 20 May 1978; (p. 17)

— Review of An Imaginary Life : A Novel David Malouf 1978 single work novel
Culture and Identity : Politics and Writing in Some Recent Post-Colonial Texts Gareth Griffiths , 1992 single work criticism
— Appears in: From Commonwealth to Post-Colonial 1992; (p. 436-443)
Problems of Historicity in David Malouf's An Imaginary Life Peter Morton , 2000 single work criticism
— Appears in: Classical & Modern Literature , vol. 20 no. 1 2000; (p. 1-17)
David Malouf's An Imaginary Life : A Return to the Very Edge of Memory, History and the Multicultural Self M. Dolores Herrero , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: Narrativa i Historia 2002; (p. 37-59)
Explores the relationship between history, autobiography and fiction in Malouf's novel.
Constructing the Post-Colonial Male Body Bill Ashcroft , 1998 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Body in the Library 1998; (p. 207-223)

Discusses the representations of the male body and identity in Australian art and literature.

David Malouf's Language of Reconciliation : Stylistic Patterns in An Imaginary Life Brendan Rodda , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Literature and Aesthetics , June vol. 14 no. 1 2004; (p. 49-66)
Uses a linguistic model to analyse the lexico-grammar of two excerpts from Malouf's novel and to show 'Malouf's brilliance in crafting language to convey the theme of the novel' (65).
Last amended 24 Jan 2017 07:27:26
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