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The Unjusticeable and the Imaginable single work   criticism  
  • Author:agent Philip Mead
Issue Details: First known date: 2016... 2016 The Unjusticeable and the Imaginable
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'These notes on Alexis Wright’s fiction are about issues within (and beyond) Indigenous intellectual and political life in contemporary Australia that her fiction seems to address in imaginative and narrative ways. They’re predominantly contextual rather than interpretative. In the context of our MLA panel (9 January 2015) on Wright’s ‘(other)worldly’ fiction I offered these contextual considerations, working from the outside in, as intended to assist with reading The Swan Book (2013), particularly for a non-Australian readership; a reading from the inside out would include consideration of Indigenous storytelling modes and their adaptation of dystopian generics, and the thematics of climate theft and ecological racism (see Rose). The Swan Book and Carpentaria (2006) currently circulate as world novels where they have a powerful and distinctive presence as complex literary narratives within transnational Indigenous and, to a lesser degree, non-Indigenous literary circuits (see Osborne and Whitlock). 1 At the same time these fictions emerge out of and address native (and national) historical and political matrices that include deeply contested, volatile ideas about state sovereignty, land rights, the history of settlement, and Indigenous policy. In this connection ‘sovereignty’ is the word I would like to draw attention to. A significant aspect of The Swan Book is the complex and self-reflexive ways in which it addresses the political and social debate about ‘sovereignty,’ although this aspect of Wright’s fiction is not restricted to that novel.' (Publication abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    JASAL World Readers : The Transnational Locations of Australian Literature vol. 16 no. 2 2016 periodical issue

    'This issue opens with an important collection of writings on acclaimed novelist Alexis Wright. In ‘The Unjusticeable and the Imaginable’ Philip Mead aims to provide a deep context for Wright’s most recent work in terms of her engagement with questions of sovereignty. Mead takes up Wright’s claim that ‘The art of storytelling […] is a form of activism that allows us to work with our ideas through our imagination’ and through this lens tracks the conceptual paths through which Aboriginal sovereignty becomes imaginable. In ‘Orality and Narrative Invention in Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria,’ Geoff Rodoreda argues that the novel’s ‘narrative framework may well be a unique novelistic invention.’ Focusing on Wright’s use of voice in the novel, Rodoreda proposes that ‘Carpentaria … flatly rejects this paradigm of the inevitable demise of the oral upon contact with the written. What Alexis Wright does in her text is to take orality by the scruff of the neck, as it were, shake it free of all of its pejoratives and sneering deprecations, and boldly insert it back into the text, empowered.’ For Rodoreda, orality enables Wright to challenge the predominant role of written narrative in postcolonial settings, and ‘to portray a sovereign Aboriginal mindset in an authentically Indigenous storytelling mode.’' (Publication abstract)

Last amended 19 Jan 2017 10:50:52 The Unjusticeable and the Imaginablesmall AustLit logo JASAL