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Issue Details: First known date: 2016... 2016 Enemies of Honor : Heroes and Prisoners of War in Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Tom Keneally’s Shame and the Captives
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'The heroism of the Australian soldier abroad is a subject often explored by Australian writers. Representations have fluctuated somewhat from the time of the First World War, but tales of valor and stoic endurance have elicited a potent fascination from this time. Among many examples is Frederic Manning's The Middle Parts of Fortune (1929), throughout which, despite the hardships and privations of the Western Front and the various enticements to accept commissions elsewhere, the protagonist prefers the lot of the everyday soldiers, among whom heroism is "a common thing" (94). The serving men are presented not as types but as individuals, but each is secure in the conviction that "one must not break" (13). The tradition continues in A. B. Facey's memoir of Gallipoli, A Fortunate Life (1981), in which "despite the fear men mostly took everything that was thrown at them" (260) and bonded together in "love and trust" (278), and more recently in Christopher Koch's Highways to a War (1995), which tells of a combat cameraman who joins the struggle against the Khmer Rouge. Mike Langford is athletic and charming, he is preoccupied with "the outcast and the vulnerable" (159), and he saves many lives ultimately at the cost of his own. He is portrayed indisputably as a "hem" (342). Clam Rhoden argues that Australian war literature "diverges from its international counterparts chiefly, but not solely, because most Australian accounts use a classical heroic tradition that others have abandoned for a disillusioned style of narration." Similarly, Robin Gerster notes that Australian writers are "critical of war but almost blindly impressed by warlike achievements" (257). However, there has long been a definitive thread of dissent interwoven into the heroic tradition, in which Martin Boyd's When Blackbirds Sing (1962) is one of the most notable examples. In Boyd's novel, Dominic Langton feels "a common humanity" with the German soldiers he is required to destroy (75). He sees "suicidal futility" where others perceive a glorious defense of civilization (114). Similarly, David Maloufs Fly Away Peter (1982) describes senseless carnage in another country's war. Like Langton, however, Jim Saddler sees the Germans as individuals, as "something more than the enemy" (80).' (Introduction)

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    y separately published work icon Antipodes vol. 30 no. 1 June 2016 10531896 2016 periodical issue 2016 pg. 159-171
Last amended 6 Jan 2017 11:18:28
159-171 Enemies of Honor : Heroes and Prisoners of War in Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Tom Keneally’s Shame and the Captivessmall AustLit logo Antipodes