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Imaginary Homelands: An Exploration of Australian Literature (EGL205)


y separately published work icon My Life as a Fake Peter Carey , Milsons Point : Random House Australia , 2003 Z1045776 2003 single work novel (taught in 8 units) Sarah Wode-Douglas is an aristocratic woman who has made her living as the editor of the poetry magazine "First Proof", until she impulsively follows a friend to Kuala Lumpur. She meets Christopher Chubb, an enigmatic wreck of a man whose terrible secrets Sarah is compelled to discover and pursue. (Source: Trove)
y separately published work icon Box the Pony Leah Purcell , Scott Rankin , 1997 Sydney : Hodder Headline , 1999 Z114430 1997 single work drama (taught in 4 units)

One-woman play, written by and for Leah Purcell, which draws on her experiences growing up, her relationship with her mother, and the contrast between her country upbringing and city life.

y separately published work icon Radiance Louis Nowra , Paddington : Currency Press Belvoir Street Theatre , 1993 Z25564 1993 single work drama (taught in 3 units)
— Appears in: アップザラダ; レイディアンス 2003;

'Louis Nowra’s Radiance is an exuberant black sabbath for three great Indigenous dames. It begins conventionally enough: Mae, Nona and Cressy gather at the old Queenslander in the tropics for Mum’s funeral. But these three sisters are forces of nature, and they haven’t been in the same room for years, and years. It isn’t long before that old house can’t contain the joy and pain of them all being together again…

'Radiance began its life at Belvoir in 1993. After 22 years, Nowra’s feat of playwriting – almost Shakespearean, a Tempest-like packet of lust, rage, grief and high-flying foolery – is ready to be unleashed again. Leah Purcell is the woman for the job.

'Purcell is a powerhouse. She burst onto the national stage nearly two decades ago and is as full of fight and life as she ever was. What better idea than for this all-round theatre elder to direct herself in this mighty little classic?' (2015 Production summary)

y separately published work icon Carpentaria Alexis Wright , Artarmon : Giramondo Publishing , 2006 Z1184902 2006 single work novel (taught in 47 units) Carpentaria's portrait of life in the precariously settled coastal town of Desperance centres on the powerful Phantom family, whose members are the leaders of the Pricklebush people, and their battles with old Joseph Midnight's tearaway Eastend mob on the one hand, and the white officials of Uptown and the neighbouring Gurfurrit mine on the other. Wright's storytelling is operatic and surreal: a blend of myth and scripture, politics and farce. The novel is populated by extraordinary characters - Elias Smith the outcast saviour, the religious zealot Mozzie Fishman, leader of the holy Aboriginal pilgrimage, the murderous mayor Stan Bruiser, the ever-vigilant Captain Nicoli Finn, the activist and prodigal son Will Phantom, and above all, Angel Day the queen of the rubbish-dump, and her sea-faring husband Normal Phantom, the fish-embalming king of time - figures that stand like giants in this storm-swept world. (Backcover)
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.
y separately published work icon Miss Peabody's Inheritance Elizabeth Jolley , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1983 Z796757 1983 single work novel (taught in 4 units)

'In this potent tale of love and loneliness, Elizabeth Jolley has woven two parallel stories into a dazzlingly original novel. Arabella Thorne is a brilliant, witty and accomplished woman. The exotic tale of this flamboyant eccentric and her European travels – with jealous secretary and shy schoolgirl protégée – is the inheritance that transforms the uneventful suburban life of Miss Peabody.' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon Loaded Christos Tsiolkas , Milsons Point : Vintage Australia , 1995 Z565443 1995 single work novel (taught in 40 units)

'Families can detonate. Some families are torn apart forever by one small act, one solitary mistake. In my family it was a series of small explosions; consistent, passionate, pathetic. Cruel words, crude threats... We spurred each other on till we reached a crescendo of pain and we retired exhausted to our rooms, in tears or in fury.

'Ari is nineteen, unemployed and a poofter who doesn't want to be gay. He is looking for something - anything - to take him away from his aimless existence in suburban Melbourne. He doesn't believe in anyone or anything, except the power of music. All he wants to do is dance, take drugs, have sex and change the world.

'For Ari, all the orthodoxies of family, sex, politics and work have collapsed. Caught between the traditional Greek world of his parents and friends and the alluring, destructive world of clubs, chemicals and anonymous sex, all Ari can do is ease his pain in the only ways he knows how.

'Written in stark, uncompromising prose, Loaded is a first novel of great passion and power.' (From the publisher's website.)


This course investigates some of the significant expressions of Australian literature in the last one hundred years. It plots how Australian literature has served to situate, challenge and debate concepts of nation and identity, belonging and home. It does this through development of extensive critical reading skills, analysis and literary research.

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Levels: Undergraduate