'This article revisits, analyzes and critiques Bruce Chatwin’s 1987 bestseller, The Songlines, more than three decades after its publication. In Songlines, the book primarily responsible for his posthumous celebrity, Chatwin set out to explore the essence of Central and Western Desert Aboriginal Australians’ philosophical beliefs. For many readers globally, Songlines is regarded as a—if not the—definitive entry into the epistemological basis, religion, cosmology and lifeways of classical Western and Central Desert Aboriginal people. It is argued that Chatwin’s fuzzy, ill-defined use of the word-concept “songlines” has had the effect of generating more heat than light. Chatwin’s failure to recognize the economic imperative underpinning Australian desert people’s walking praxis is problematic: his own treks through foreign lands were underpropped by socioeconomic privilege. Chatwin’s ethnocentric idée fixe regarding the primacy of “walking” and “nomadism,” central to his Songlines thématique, well and truly preceded his visits to Central Australia. Walking, proclaimed Chatwin, is an elemental part of “Man’s” innate nature. It is argued that this unwavering, preconceived, essentialist belief was a self-serving construal justifying Chatwin’s own “nomadic” adventures of identity. Is it thus reasonable to regard Chatwin as a “rogue author,” an unreliable narrator? And if so, does this matter? Of greatest concern is the book’s continuing majority acceptance as a measured, accurate account of Aboriginal belief systems. With respect to Aboriginal desert people and the barely disguised individuals depicted in Songlines, is Chatwin’s book a “rogue text,” constituting an act of epistemic violence, consistent with Spivak’s usage of that term?'
'This paper examines the Megg, Mogg and Owl stories of Simon Hanselmann, an Australian artist whose serialized comics both depict acts of contemporary roguery committed by a group of friends in an inner city sharehouse and test the generic limits of its own storytelling conventions, thereby becoming contemporary instances of “rogue texts.” The paper positions the adventures of Megg, a witch, Mogg, her familiar, Owl, their housemate, and associated characters including Booger and Werewolf Jones as contemporary variations of both the Australian genre of grunge fiction and the broad international tradition of rogue literature. It shows how Megg, Mogg, Owl and their friends use the structure of the sharehouse to make their own rules, undertake illegal behaviour, and respond to the strictures of mainstream society, which alongside legal restrictions include normative restrictions on gender and behaviour. It shows the sharehouse as a response to their economic, as well as cultural and social conditions. The paper then shows how Megg and particularly Owl come up against the limitations of the permissiveness and apparent security of their “rogue” society, and respond by beginning to “go rogue” from the group. Meanwhile, the text itself, rather than advancing through time, goes over the same chronology and reinscribes it from new angles, becoming revisionist and re-creative, perhaps behaving roguishly against the affordances of episodic, vignette form. The paper argues that Simon Hanselmann’s Megg, Mogg and Owl comics can be understood as contemporary rogue texts, showing characters responding to social and generic limits and expressing them through a restless and innovative comics text.'