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Australian Literature 1920-1960 (ASLT2601)
Semester 1 / 2009

Texts

y separately published work icon Poems Kenneth Slessor , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1957 Z531943 1957 selected work poetry (taught in 5 units)
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y separately published work icon Coonardoo : The Well in the Shadow Katharine Susannah Prichard , 1928 Z1081769 1928 single work novel (taught in 39 units) Set in North-West of Western Australia, it describes life on cattle stations and the relationship between the white owner of the station and Coonardoo, an Aboriginal woman.
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y separately published work icon The Magic Pudding : Being the Adventures of Bunyip Bluegum and His Friends Bill Barnacle and Sam Sawnoff Norman Lindsay , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1918 Z862346 1918 single work children's fiction children's humour satire (taught in 4 units) "The adventures of two koalas, a penguin, an old sailor and a cantankerous walking, talking pudding that is vulnerable to thieves."
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y separately published work icon Voss : A Novel Patrick White , London : Eyre and Spottiswoode , 1957 Z872480 1957 single work novel (taught in 33 units)

'Set in nineteenth-century Australia, Voss is the story of the secret passion between an explorer and a naïve young woman. Although they have met only a few times, Voss and Laura are joined by overwhelming, obsessive feelings for each other. Voss sets out to cross the continent. As hardships, mutiny and betrayal whittle away his power to endure and to lead, his attachment to Laura gradually increases. Laura, waiting in Sydney, moves through the months of separation as if they were a dream and Voss the only reality.

'From the careful delineation of Victorian society to the sensitive rendering of hidden love to the stark narrative of adventure in the Australian desert, Patrick White's novel is a work of extraordinary power and virtuosity.'

Source: Random House Books (Sighted 21/09/2012)

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y separately published work icon Capricornia : A Novel Xavier Herbert , Sydney : Publicist Publishing Company , 1938 Z352152 1938 single work novel (taught in 7 units)

'Arriving in Capricornia (a fictional name for the Northern Territory) in 1904 with his brother Oscar, Mark Shillingworth soon becomes part of the flotsam and jetsam of Port Zodiac (Darwin) society. Dismissed from the public service for drunkenness, Mark forms a brief relationship with an Aboriginal woman and fathers a son, whom he deserts and who acquires the name of Naw-Nim (no-name). After killing a Chinese shopkeeper, Norman disappears from view until the second half of the novel.

'Oscar, the respectable contrast to Mark, marries and tries to establish himself on a Capricornian cattle station, Red Ochre, but is deserted by his wife and eventually returns for a time to Batman (Melbourne), accompanied by his daughter Marigold and foster son Norman, who has been sent to him after Mark's desertion.

'Oscar rejects the plea of a former employee, Peter Differ, to see to the welfare of his daughter Constance; Constance Differ is placed under the 'protection' of Humboldt Lace, a Protector of Aborigines, who seduces her and then marries her off to another man of Aboriginal descent. Forced into prostitution, Constance is dying of consumption when discovered by a railway fitter, Tim O'Cannon, who will take care of Constance's daughter, Tocky, until his own death in a train accident.
Hearing news in 1928 of an economic boom in Capricornia, Oscar returns to his station, where he is joined by Marigold and Norman, who has grown to manhood believing himself to be the son of a Javanese princess and a solider killed in the First World War. Soon after, he discovers his mother was an Aboriginal woman, and meets his father, with whom he will not reconcile until later in the novel. Norman then goes on a series of journeys to discover his true, Aboriginal self. On the second of these journeys, he meets and wanders in the wilderness with Tocky, who has escaped from the mission station to which she was sent after the death of O'Cannon. During this passage, she kills a man in self-defense, which leads to Norman's being accused of murder, at the same time his father is prosecuted for the death of the Chinese shopkeeper. At the end of the novel they are both acquitted, Heather and Mark are married, and Norman returns to Red Ochre, where he finds the body of Tocky and their child in a water tank in which she had taken refuge from the authorities.' (Source: Oxford Companion to Australian Literature)

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Description

This unit aims to introduce some of the key writers of this period. It will also encourage students to develop reading skills appropriate to different genres and to acquire an awareness of the issues, movements and critical debates that were central to the development of Australian literature.

Assessment

One 1500 word mid-semester essay (30%) and one 3000 word end-of-semester take-home exam (70%)

Other Details

Levels: Undergraduate
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