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Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 ‘No Nails New under the Sun’ : Creativity, Climate Change, and the Challenge to Literary Narrative in Thea Astley’s Drylands
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'Thea Astley’s millennial novel Drylands, a self-declared ‘book for the world’s last reader’ (1999, title page), offers an opportunity to reappraise literary narrative and creative experimentation in a time of climate change. This essay takes this up by reading Astley’s text as a paradoxical account of literature’s failings to either nourish or repair a drought-ridden, economically, environmentally and empathically beleaguered town in regional Australia. Astley’s vision is ostensibly declentionist, wherein the only hope for the future seems to lie in the inevitable ruins of the present. Within these ruins lies the fate of particular, historical creative forms, most notably the literary novel, which, as an expression of Western epistemology, is now evacuated of meaning. On the one hand, Astley seems to offer no reversed fortune for her characters or the textual practice that ironically brings them to life; however, the essay offers a further, dissonant reading of the text through a perspective of distributed agency which, as climate change unfolds, is where possibilities for literary work may lie.' (Publication abstract)

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  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon TEXT Special Issue Website Series Making It New: Finding Contemporary Meanings for Creativity no. 40 Michael Biggs (editor), Kevin Brophy (editor), Monica Carroll (editor), Paul Magee (editor), Jen Webb (editor), 2017 11181505 2017 periodical issue

    'Creativity is one of the important catchwords of the early 21st century. It is invoked by government, industry, and the academy, positioned as the motive force for economic and technological innovation, and widely claimed in the literature of business and organisational management as an explicatory concept and a key ingredient for success. It can be surprising to artists in all the many forms and modes of practice that a word we had long seen as ‘ours’ has so thoroughly and promiscuously slipped from our grasp. However, there is knowledge in all those other disciplines and domains that is potentially of value to creative writers, performing artists and plastic artists, as well as all our cousins in allied art forms.' (Monica Carroll and Jen Webb Introduction)

Last amended 12 May 2017 11:29:50 ‘No Nails New under the Sun’ : Creativity, Climate Change, and the Challenge to Literary Narrative in Thea Astley’s Drylandssmall AustLit logo TEXT Special Issue Website Series