AustLit logo
Twentieth-Century Australian Literature (ENGL2100)
Semester 2 / 2009

Texts

y separately published work icon My Brilliant Career Miles Franklin , Edinburgh London : William Blackwood , 1901 Z161522 1901 single work novel (taught in 56 units)

My Brilliant Career was written by Stella Franklin (1879-1954) when she was just nineteen years old. The novel struggled to find an Australian publisher, but was published in London and Edinburgh in 1901 after receiving an endorsement from Henry Lawson. Although Franklin wrote under the pseudonym 'Miles Franklin', Lawson’s preface makes it clear that Franklin is, as Lawson puts it 'a girl.'

The novel relates the story of Sybylla Melvyn, a strong-willed young woman of the 1890s growing up in the Goulburn area of New South Wales and longing to be a writer.

y separately published work icon It's Raining in Mango : Pictures from the Family Album Thea Astley , New York (City) : G. P. Putnam's Sons , 1987 Z355929 1987 selected work short story (taught in 2 units)

Wresting his family from the easy living of nineteenth-century Sydney, Cornelius Laffey takes them to northern Queensland where thousands of hopefuls are digging for gold in the mud. They confront the horror of Aboriginal dispossession, and Cornelius is sacked for reporting the slaughter. This is an unforgettable tale of the other side of Australia's heritage.

Source: Penguin Random House Australia.

(https://penguin.com.au/books/its-raining-in-mango-popular-penguins-9780143204749)

y separately published work icon The Aunt's Story Patrick White , London : Routledge , 1948 Z470389 1948 single work novel (taught in 27 units)

'With the death of her mother, middle-aged Theodora Goodman contemplates the desert of her life. Freed from the trammels of convention, she leaves Australia for a European tour and becomes involved with the residents of a small French hotel. But creating other people's lives, even in love and pity, can lead to madness. Her ability to reconcile joy and sorrow is an unbearable torture to her. On the journey home, Theodora finds there is little to choose between the reality of illusion and the illusion of reality. She looks for peace, even if it is beyond the borders of insanity.' (From the publisher's website.)

y separately published work icon The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea Randolph Stow , London : MacDonald , 1965 Z320676 1965 single work novel (taught in 7 units)
y separately published work icon The Man Who Loved Children Christina Stead , New York (City) : Simon and Schuster , 1940 Z462160 1940 single work novel (taught in 19 units)

'Set in Washington during the 1930s, Sam and Henny Pollit are a warring husband and wife. Their tempestuous marriage, aggravated by too little money, lies at the centre of Stead's satirical and brilliantly observed novel about the relations between husbands and wives, and parents and children.

'Sam, a scientist, uses words as weapons of attack and control on his children and is prone to illusions of power and influence that fail to extend beyond his family. His wife Henny, who hails from a wealthy Baltimore family, is disastrously impractical and enmeshed in her own fantasies of romance and vengeance. Much of the care of their six children is left to Louisa, Sam's 14-year-old daughter from his first marriage. Within this psychological battleground, Louisa must attempt to make a life of her own.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (MUP).

y separately published work icon True Country Kim Scott , Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 1993 Z165486 1993 single work novel (taught in 30 units) 'Billy is drifting, looking for a place to land. A young school teacher, he arrives in Australia's remote far north in search of his own history, his Aboriginality, and his future. He finds himself in a region of abundance and beauty but also of conflict, dispossession and dislocation. On the desperate frontier between cultures, Billy must find his place of belonging.' (Source: Fremantle Press website)
y separately published work icon The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry John Kinsella (editor), Camberwell : Penguin , 2009 Z1553543 2009 anthology poetry (taught in 16 units)

'This is a comprehensive survey of Australian poetic achievement, ranging from early colonial and indigenous verse to contemporary work, from the major poets to those who deserve to be better recognised.' (Provided by the publisher).

y separately published work icon My Father's Moon Elizabeth Jolley , Ringwood : Viking , 1989 Z206273 1989 single work novel (taught in 1 units) 'Vera is young, awkward and naive. As a schoolgirl, she has her sheltered idealism, her Quaker boarding-school education, and the warm, enveloping sense of security of her parents. As a student nurse during the war, her transition into womanhood is rapid, painful and disastrous. And as an unmarried mother she flees from the nagging tension of her home and the hospital gossip to Fairfields, a place of poetry, music and of people with interesting lives and ideas. Quickly she learns it is otherwise. Yet, for Vera, there is always the moon — her companion, comforter, and the unbreakable link with her father...' (Publisher's blurb, 2008 Penguin publication.)
y separately published work icon A Difficult Young Man Martin Boyd , London : Cresset Press , 1955 Z500015 1955 single work novel (taught in 2 units)

' Handsome, proud, reprehensible, misunderstood. Dominic Langton is the dark heart of A Difficult Young Man. His brother Guy can scarcely understand where he fits into the pattern of things or what he might do next. Martin Boyd’s much loved novel is an elegant, witty and compelling family tale about the contradictions of growing up.' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon My Brother Jack : A Novel George Johnston , London Sydney : Collins , 1964 Z824887 1964 single work novel (taught in 13 units)

''The thing I am trying to get at is what made Jack different from me. Different all through our lives, I mean, and in a special sense, not just older or nobler or braver or less clever.'

'David and Jack Meredith grow up in a patriotic suburban Melbourne household during the First World War, and go on to lead lives that could not be more different. Through the story of the two brothers, George Johnston created an enduring exploration of two Australian myths: that of the man who loses his soul as he gains worldly success, and that of the tough, honest Aussie battler, whose greatest ambition is to serve his country during the war. Acknowledged as one of the true Australian classics, My Brother Jack is a deeply satisfying, complex and moving literary masterpiece. ' (Publication summary)

Description

The course examines twentieth-century Australian literature. Students read a selection of significant Australian literary texts, and discuss the literary, political, critical, and theoretical questions raised in these texts. The course focuses on Australian literature as a national literature that simultaneously develops and revises its literary traditions. Australian literature also responds to and revises traditions from other literatures, notably but not solely from Anglophone countries. What has preoccupied Australian literature? What has defined it? What dynamics are at work in it? Students gain an understanding of a lively national literature which looks within, questions, and debates its own history and place of origin, at the same time as it examines the relationship of Australia, and Australian literature, to the world.

Assessment

Attendance

10%

Seminar paper

20%

Essay

40%

Final examination

30%

Supplementary Texts

AustLit: Online Electronic Database Resource for Australian Literature

Wilde, William, Joy Hooton and Barry Andrews. The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature. 2nd ed. Oxford: London, 1994.

Baldick, Chris. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1991.

Other Details

Offered in: 2008, 2007, 2006
Current Campus: St Lucia
Levels: Undergraduate
X