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y separately published work icon Literature and Theology periodical issue   peer reviewed assertion
Alternative title: Grounding the Sacred in Literature and the Arts in Australia
Issue Details: First known date: 2017... vol. 31 no. 2 June 2017 of Literature and Theology est. 1987 Literature and Theology
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The guest editors introduce the special issue, ‘Grounding the Sacred in Literature and the Arts in Australia’. Five of the articles in this issue originated from the conference: Grounding the Sacred in Literature and the Arts, held at Australian Catholic University, Sydney, 23–26 July 2015.'  (Editorial Introduction)


* Contents derived from the 2017 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
How the Sacred Appears : Poetry and the Dark One, Kevin Hart , single work criticism

'Poetry does not simply ask ‘What?’ or ‘Why?’ It is deeply concerned with the question, ‘How?’, even if the question is not presented as a theme. God does not usually appear under the questions ‘What?’ and ‘Why?’ in poetry, and when he does it is usually in terms of the ‘supernatural attitude’. Yet God can appear in poems by way of a relation. It is not always the case that divine manifestation is overwhelming; sometimes it is as something that can easily be overlooked or bypassed.'  (Publication abstract)

(p. 130–148)
Written in White : A Reading of Kevin Hart’s ‘Colloquies’, Nathan Lyons , single work criticism

'The poem ‘Colloquies’ by Australian poet Kevin Hart can be read as a literary elaboration of Rabbi Isaac the Blind's theory of divine white writing. ‘Colloquies’ finds white writing in the pages of God s three books—scripture, nature, and time—and depicts the difficulty of understanding and responding to this obscure mode of revelation. Hart appropriates a range of theological sources (including Augustine, Aquinas, Ignatius of Loyola, and G. M. Hopkins) and recasts these sources in light of Rabbi Isaac’s paradoxical theory in order to illuminate in poetry the perplexities of a life lived coram Deo.' (Publication abstract)

(p. 149–163)
EarthSong and Desert Art : Painted Literature from Sacred Ground, Lloyd D. Graham , single work criticism

'Like the travel memoirs of writers who have wandered the Songlines of the Australian desert under the guidance of indigenous custodians, Aboriginal desert art offers a window into the lyrical and sacred world of the Dreaming. The paintings of the EarthSong exhibition (Australian Catholic University, 2015) embody excerpts from the song-myth cycles of the Western Desert; using ceremonial iconography to portray the actions of Ancestral Beings at specific sites, they form maps of terrain and title deeds to country. An exploration of several of the exhibition’s paintings affords a sense of the beauty, drama and complexity of the song-myth cycles that underpin and connect all of the paintings in the collection.'  (Publication abstract)

(p. 164–186)
Collaborations and Renegotiations : Re-examining the ‘Sacred’ in the Film-Making of David Gulpilil and Rolf de Heer, Alison Jasper , single work criticism

'This article discusses the term ‘sacred’ in relation to the work of nineteenth-century sociologist Émile Durkheim, for whom the word denoted the objects, practices and assumptions that sustained communal solidarity and fostered dynamic energies, whether or not they were conventionally described as ‘religious’. I then turn to the work of more recent scholars of ‘critical religion’ suggesting that the terms ‘religion’ and ‘the sacred’ derive from a predominantly western, patriarchal and colonial context, forming part of a complex network of interconnected categories that represent a distinctive and dominant discourse of power constructing a privileged identity through hostile Othering or exclusions. Arguably, in the Australian mainstream, a discourse of ‘religion’ imported largely by Christian settlers from the west over the last two hundred years has been employed to exclude Aboriginal ways of understanding the world, for example by promoting the category of ‘land’ as an exploitable, God-given human possession. Nevertheless, drawing on the work of Julia Kristeva, I understand that an encounter with the Other—whether the Aboriginal or the balanda—can be viewed differently: as a zone of properly disturbing but also creative possibility. It remains very important, however, to acknowledge the power imbalances that are still embedded within such encounters, and the consequent risks to indigenous Australians, of further dislocation and dispossession. This idea is explored through a consideration of the collaborative film-making of David Gulpilil and Rolf de Heer and, in particular, of two films: Ten Canoes (2006) and Charlie’s Country (2013).'  (Publication abstract)

(p. 187–199)
The First Night Out of Eden : David Malouf’s Remembering Babylon, David Jasper , single work criticism

'This article focuses particularly upon David Malouf’s novel Remembering Babylon as it examines Malouf as a spiritual writer whose works explore the liminality of space in Australia and the boundaries between worlds, both real and literary. The article moves between the classical studies of John Keble and the philosophy of Martin Heidegger to establish the place of the sacramental in Malouf’s writings, a novelist and poet who bears comparison with the French poet Yves Bonnefoy.' (Publication abstract)

(p. 215–230)
Bidding the Animal Àdieu : Grace in J.M. Coetzee’s The Lives of Animals and Disgrace, Brandi Estey-Burtt , single work criticism

'J.M. Coetzee’s focus on animals in Disgrace and The Lives of Animals forces his readers to question the contours of their ethical frameworks, including the distinction between human and animal realms and whether animals must necessarily compete for imaginative space with human beings. I argue that Coetzee asks us to envision what effect human and animal interactions can have in the midst of trauma, and offers the idea of grace as a surprising, if tentative, answer.' (Publication abstract)

(p. 231–245)
[Review Essay] Streets of Papunya: The Reinvention of Papunya Painting, David Moore , single work essay

'A strong theme of redemption runs through this book, which is about the dying of an art centre at Papunya and its revival as Papunya Tjupi Arts. The book traces the place of Papunya in the Western Desert Arts movement and the pioneering achievements of the Papunya artists since its establishment in the 1970s and what Johnson describes as ‘the revolutionary incursion of Indigenous art into Australian contemporary art over the preceding two decades’ (p. 161). The author first visited Papunya in 1980, has been involved in the art centres and has written extensively about them.'  (Introduction)

(p. 246–247)

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