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Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 Romancing Theft
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'This article examines the legacy of Romanticism on Australian settlement, using analysis of early colonial narrative to investigate how a public hungry for writing of all genres and schooled for centuries by the adventure tales of white heroes – ‘free of the complexities of relations with white women’ as Patrick Brantlinger notes – came to authorise the theft of Aboriginal land and the violation of her people. Through the close analysis of an account by one of Victoria’s first settlers, Joseph Tice Gellibrand, this work seeks to unveil how word and action often belie one another in colonial narratives, acting to legitimate what was in fact unlawful through what Michel Foucault refers to as a ‘hazardous play of dominations’ (1981: 52). Drawing on Marxist and post-colonial analysis of the Romantic era and its ‘prevailing anxiety with difference and otherness’ (Saree Makdisi, 2009: 36), I examine how ideas about race and sovereignty were normalised through the expedient use of writing, and in doing so, demonstrate how, in Victoria, the written word has everything to do with authority, property and ownership. I conclude that it is through creative writing that we can help to bring about social change: through work that seeks, as Jen Webb states, ‘to make things visible’, to ‘provide a platform’ (2015: 61) from which to unsettle notions of settlement and sovereignty.' (Publication abstract)

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  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon TEXT Special Issue Website Series Romanticism and Contemporary Australian Writing : Legacies and Resistances no. 41 October 2017 12933044 2017 periodical issue

    'Late eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century literary and artistic conceptions may seem far removed from the complex, global materialism that characterises contemporary culture, yet many ideas associated with historical Romanticism continue to influence the study and practice of creative writing throughout the world. This is partly because of the power and diversity of the Romantic legacy – so many fine writers are associated with Romanticism – and partly because Romanticism continues to inform the contemporary zeitgeist in a variety of complex ways. J.M. Fitzgerald contends that one of Romanticism’s best known works, William Wordsworth’s The Prelude ushered in the idea ‘that each individual constructs themselves … and that each individual’s story is his or her own unique[ly]’ (2002: 101). This fundamental and far-reaching idea of the (more-or-less) separate self remains with us, however much it may have been reinflected by postmodernity.' (Editorial introduction)

Last amended 21 Feb 2018 10:41:31 Romancing Theftsmall AustLit logo TEXT Special Issue Website Series