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Australian Texts: International Contexts (ENGL1008)
Semester 1 / 2009


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 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 Twyborn Affair Patrick White , London : Jonathan Cape , 1979 Z448841 1979 single work novel (taught in 14 units)

'Eddie Twyborn is bisexual and beautiful, the son of a Judge and a drunken mother. With his androgynous hero - Eudoxia/Eddie/Eadith Twyborn - and through his search for identity, for self-affirmation and love in its many forms, Patrick White takes us into the ambiguous landscapes, sexual, psychological and spiritual, of the human condition.' (From the publisher's website.)

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 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 Recollections of Mr Manoly Lascaris Vrasidas Karalis , Blackheath : Brandl and Schlesinger , 2008 Z1498317 2008 single work biography (taught in 1 units) 'Recollections of Mr Manoly Lascaris relates Vrasidas Karalis' discussions with Manoly Lascaris, Patrick White's life partner. Karalis offers new interpretations of White's work and his relationship with Lascaris. It also reveals Lascaris' quirky wit and astonishing wisdom.' (Publisher's blurb)
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




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.


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

Other Details

Offered in: 2008, 2007
Levels: Undergraduate