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Revolutionary Writing?: 1960s and beyond (ASLT2602)
Semester 1 / 2011


y separately published work icon An Imaginary Life : A Novel David Malouf , New York (City) : George Braziller , 1978 Z828578 1978 single work novel (taught in 8 units)

'In prose that is both elegant and lyrical, David Malouf departs from the little-known facts of Ovid's exile beyond the pale of civilization to create a deeply moving novel of extraordinary beauty. An outcast in a vast wasteland at the edge of the Black Sea, Ovid discovers a feral child. As he teaches the boy to speak the language of the civilized world, the child tutors him in his own tongue, the language of nature, and the once barren landscape begins to resonate with meaning.' (Publisher's blurb)

y separately published work icon The Solid Mandala Patrick White , London : Eyre and Spottiswoode , 1966 Z479719 1966 single work novel (taught in 5 units)
y separately published work icon Tirra Lirra by the River Jessica Anderson , South Melbourne : Macmillan , 1978 Z300858 1978 single work novel (taught in 19 units)

'Liza used to say that she saw her past life as a string of roughly-graded balls, and so did Hilda have a linear conception of hers, thinking of it as a track with detours. But for some years now I have likened mine to a globe suspended in my head, and ever since the shocking realisation that waste is irretrievalbe, I have been careful not to let this globe spin to expose the nether side on which my marriage has left its multitude of images.

'Nora Porteous has spent most of her life waiting to escape. Fleeing from her small-town family and then from her stifling marriage to a mean-spirited husband, Nora arrives finally in London where she creates a new life for herself as a successful dressmaker.

'Now in her seventies, Nora returns to Queensland to settle into her childhood home.

'But Nora has been away a long time, and the people and events of her past are not at all like she remembered them. And while some things never change, Nora is about to discover just how selective her 'globe of memory' has been.

'Tirra Lirra by the River is a moving account of one woman's remarkable life, a beautifully written novel which displays the lyrical brevity of Jessica Anderson's award-winning style.' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon The Transit of Venus Shirley Hazzard , New York (City) : Viking , 1980 Z391036 1980 single work novel (taught in 6 units)
y separately published work icon Wild Cat Falling Colin Johnson , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1965 Z203627 1965 single work novel (taught in 13 units)

'Wild Cat Falling is the story of an Aboriginal youth, a 'bodgie' of the early sixties who grows up on the ragged outskirts of a country town, falls into petty crime, goes to gaol, and comes out to do battle once more with the society who put him there. Its publication in 1965 marked a unique literary event, for this was the first novel by any writer of Aboriginal blood to be published in Australia. As well, it is a remarkable piece of literature in its own right, expressing the dilemmas and conflicts of the young Aboriginal in modern Australian society with its memorable insight and stylishness.' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon Tourmaline Randolph Stow , London : MacDonald , 1963 Z865108 1963 single work novel (taught in 5 units)

'Once prosperous, the town of Tourmaline in outback Western Australia is dying. The mines are drying up and the land is riddled by drought. Those townspeople left have little to do but wile away the hours with drink.

'Salvation of sorts arrives in the form of Michael Random, a mysterious water diviner who emerges from the desert. As the town's reluctant messiah Random begins to spread the word of Christ. Desperate for a reprieve, many of the locals are drawn to his teachings, but a stubborn few remain sceptical of their new leader.

'A post-apocalyptic parable, Tourmaline is Randolph Stow's most allusive and controversial novel. It remains a landmark in Australian literature more than half a century after its first publication.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Text Classics).


The 1960s were a time of international cultural and social upheaval. A new range of cultural influences, drugs, pop art, sexual, women's and gay liberation, and the predominantly American counter-culture, influenced a new generation of Australian writers. Bush realism gave way to previously censored subject material - sex, drugs, anti-Vietnam War sentiment - and innovative forms of writing. This unit of study investigates these issues through the works of some of the key writers of this period.


1x1500wd essay (30%) and 1x3000wd take-home exam (70%)

Supplementary Texts

Vintage Course Reader will include short stories from Moorhouse, Carey, Garner as well as the poetry that will be covered in this unit of study.

Other Details

Offered in: 2009
Current Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Levels: Undergraduate