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Australian Texts: International Contexts (ENGL1008)
Semester 1 / 2008

Texts

y separately published work icon Akhenaten Dorothy Porter , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1992 Z248289 1992 single work novel (taught in 6 units)

'Akhenaten was a fascinating, shadowy figure in Egyptian history – archaeologists have discovered attempts to eradicate all traces of his brief reign, but enough remains to tell a remarkable story of incest, heresy, androgyny and a massive cult of personality.

'Like Albert Camus celebrated Caligula, Dorothy Porter's Akhenaten is an attractive warped megalomaniac who attempted to construct an heretical religion around one Sun God, with himself at the centre.

'Akhenaten is a novel in verse that captures the obsessive, erotic nature of its central figure. It is a towering achievement.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Picador ed.)

y separately published work icon After China Brian Castro , North Sydney : Allen and Unwin , 1992 Z508518 1992 single work novel (taught in 3 units)

'An architect exiled from China meets an Australian woman writer who is terminally ill. He tells her traditional Chinese stories as a way of overcoming time/mortality, and of coming to terms with his own difficult past.

'For a book which takes loneliness and death for its themes, After China has unexpected reserves of warmth, affection and humour. Insisting on the erotic, it is surprisingly delicate, restrained and chaste. And for a work of such diverse and eclectic reference it is rewardingly resonant and interconnected. The whole novel is thus a brilliant feat of balance.' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon Dreams of Speaking Gail Jones , Milsons Point : Vintage Australia , 2006 Z1226570 2006 single work novel (taught in 4 units)

Alice is entranced by the aesthetics of technology and, in every aeroplane flight, every Xerox machine, every neon sign, sees the poetry of modernity. Mr Sakamoto, a survivor of the atomic bomb, is an expert on Alexander Graham Bell. Like Alice, he is culturally and geographically displaced. The pair forge an unlikely friendship as Mr Sakamoto regales Alice with stories of twentieth-century invention. His own knowledge begins to inform her writing, and these two solitary beings become a mutual support for each other a long way from home. - Back cover

y separately published work icon The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith Peter Carey , Toronto : Random House Canada , 1994 Z508427 1994 single work novel (taught in 2 units) Peter Carey has wholly reimagined the world in The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith. It is vaguely futuristic, underlain with the sediment of a recently ruined past, just post-colonial, culturally monolithic, and although everything seems familiar, nothing is quite recognizable. Our guide here is Tristan Smith himself: a freak of nature, a 'cracked and mended pot' of flesh that hides a 'normal' human being. Tristan is everything one could ask for in a companion and interpretive center of attention - one way or another - wherever he goes, he is sharp-eyed and quick-witted, unsentimental and unforgiving: the perfect witness to the fact and extraordinary effect of his own 'monstrosity.' Tristan takes us barrelling through his life and times (learning to be invisible and viable, coming of age, losing his mother, searching for his father, transforming himself from something people are afraid even to imagine into something already sanctioned for their imaginations), down a riotously populated, circuitous path that leads, finally, to the Sirkus: the newest entertainment opiate, the inspiration of slavish devotion in audiences, and, perhaps, the source of Tristan's ultimate transformation. The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith is the picaresque made post-modern, a tragicomedy in constant, convulsive motion. (Source: Trove)
y separately published work icon The Floating World John Romeril , 1974 (Manuscript version)x400870 Z498503 1974 single work drama (taught in 11 units)

Les Harding, onetime Japanese prisoner-of-war, takes a package cruise to Japan with his wife. As he draws near, long-repressed memories of suffering well up. A rich, ironic study of Australian xenophobia..

Source: Currency Press

(http://www.currency.com.au/product_detail.aspx?productid=210)

Description

This unit explores how Australian authors write in, to and about the wider world. It will open up a range of questions: how international influences work in Australian writing; how Australian texts rewrite authoritative texts of other cultures; how Australian texts imagine other places; how careers, reputations, publication and reception take place within and beyond the nation. In addressing these questions, the unit will focus on issues of authority, identity, representation, translation, borders and authenticity.

Assessment

1000 word in-class assessment (10%) ; 1500 word essay (45%) ; 1.5 hour exam (45%).

Other Details

Offered in: 2007
Levels: Undergraduate
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