'Locating Australian Literary Memory’ explores sites which are explicitly connected with Australian authors through material forms of commemoration such as writers’ houses, graves, statues and trails. The focus is on a selected group of notable ‘heritage’ authors who have been celebrated through tangible memorials including Adam Lindsay Gordon, Henry Lawson, A. B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson, Joseph Furphy, Henry Handel Richardson, Nan Chauncy, Katharine Susannah Pritchard, Eleanor Dark and P. L Travers. Although inherited traditions have shaped local forms of literary memorialisation, some colourful, idiosyncratic rituals have evolved in the Australian context.
'Through the interweaving of Brigid Magner’s impressions of specific sites with biographical, literary and scholarly material, this book speculates on the intensities and attractions that underpin the preservation of literary places and the practices enacted within them. Key themes such as haunting, pilgrimage and nostalgia are drawn out from her discussion of these places in order to understand the fascination with literary places and the tensions and ambiguities associated with their perpetuation.
'Compared with attractions in Europe and the United States, Australian literary commemorations are relatively modest, with very few ‘grand’ houses, reflecting the impoverishment of local authors as well as a tendency to celebrate their humble origins, a literary paradigm which has been described as the 'success of failure'. The book argues that literary places – and the artefacts residing in them – often tell us more about the memorialisers, and their rituals, than the authors themselves.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
Table of Contents:
Introduction: Why Chase the Writer?; 1. Adam Lindsay Gordon’s Grave; 2. Joseph Furphy in the Riverina; 3. Henry Handel Richardson and the Haunting of Lake View; 4. Henry Lawson Country; 5. A. B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson’s Many Birthplaces; 6. Nan Chauncy’s Sanctuary; 7. Living Memorials: The Houses of Eleanor Dark and Katharine Susannah Prichard; 8. P. L. Travers, Mary Poppins and a Handful of Statues; Conclusion: Towards a Mythic Geography of Literary Sites; Index.