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Australian Literature (EL2020/EL3020)
Semester 2 / 2012

Texts

y separately published work icon Look Who's Morphing Tom Cho , Artarmon : Giramondo Publishing , 2009 Z1580990 2009 selected work short story (taught in 6 units)

Look Who's Morphing is a collection of bizarre, funny, often menacing stories in which, along with his extended family, the central character undergoes a series of transformations, shape-shifting through figures drawn from film and television, music clips and video games, porn flicks and comics. He is Godzilla, a Muppet, and Whitney Houston's bodyguard; the Fonz, a robot, a Ford Bronco 4x4 - and, as a climax, a Gulliver-sized cock rock singer, played upon by an adoring troupe of sexy Lilliputians in short skirts and sailor suits and cheerleader outfits. Within these fantasies there is a deep intellectual and emotional engagement, a fundamental questioning of the nature of identity, and the way it constructs itself in a world dominated by the images of popular culture. – From the publisher's website.

y separately published work icon The Slap Christos Tsiolkas , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2008 Z1739894 2008 single work novel (taught in 40 units)

'At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own.

'This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the event.

'In this remarkable novel, Christos Tsiolkas turns his unflinching and all-seeing eye onto that which connects us all: the modern family and domestic life in the twenty-first century. The Slap is told from the points of view of eight people who were present at the barbecue. The slap and its consequences force them all to question their own families and the way they live, their expectations, beliefs and desires.

'What unfolds is a powerful, haunting novel about love, sex and marriage, parenting and children, and the fury and intensity - all the passions and conflicting beliefs - that family can arouse. In its clear-eyed and forensic dissection of the ever-growing middle class and its aspirations and fears, The Slap is also a poignant, provocative novel about the nature of loyalty and happiness, compromise and truth.' (Publisher's blurb)

y separately published work icon For Love Alone Christina Stead , New York (City) : Harcourt Brace , 1944 Z796198 1944 single work novel (taught in 5 units)

'Superbly evoking life in Sydney and London in the 1930s, For Love Alone is the story of the intelligent and determined Teresa Hawkins, who believes in passionate love and yearns to experience it. She focuses her energy on Jonathan Crow, an unlikeable and arrogant man whom she follows to London after four long years of working in a factory and living at home with her loveless family. Reunited with Crow in London, she begins to realise that perhaps he is not as worthy of her affections as originally thought and abandons her idealised vision of love for something quite different.' (From Melbourne University Publishing's website, new ed., 2011)

y separately published work icon Forty-Seventeen Frank Moorhouse , Ringwood : Viking , 1988 Z356438 1988 selected work short story (taught in 1 units)
y separately published work icon Lovesong Alex Miller , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2009 Z1630287 2009 single work novel (taught in 1 units)

'Strangers did not, as a rule, find their way to Chez Dom, a small, rundown Tunisian cafe on Paris' distant fringes. Run by the widow Houria and her young niece, Sabiha, the cafe offers a home away from home for the North African immigrant workers working at the great abattoirs of Vaugiraud, who, like them, had grown used to the smell of blood in the air. But when one day a lost Australian tourist, John Patterner, seeks shelter in the cafe from a sudden Parisian rainstorm, the quiet simplicities of their lives are changed forever.

John is like no-one Sabiha has met before - his calm grey eyes promise her a future she was not yet even aware she wanted. Theirs becomes a contented but unlikely marriage - a marriage of two cultures lived in a third - and yet because they are essentially foreigners to each other, their love story sets in train an irrevocable course of tragic events.

Years later, living a small, quiet life in suburban Melbourne, what happened at Vaugiraud seems like a distant, troubling dream to Sabiha and John, who confides the story behind their seemingly ordinary lives to Ken, an ageing, melancholy writer. It is a story about home and family, human frailties and passions, raising questions of morals and purpose - questions have no simple answer.

Lovesong is a simple enough story in many ways - the story of a marriage, of people coming undone by desire, of ordinary lives and death, love and struggle - but when told with Miller's distinctive voice, which is all intelligence, clarity and compassion, it has a real gravitas, it resonates and is deeply moving. Into the wonderfully evoked contemporary settings of Paris and Melbourne, memories of Tunisian family life, culture and its music are tenderly woven.' (From the publisher's website.)

y separately published work icon Lilian's Story Kate Grenville , Sydney : Allen and Unwin , 1985 Z1039066 1985 single work novel (taught in 5 units)

Madness, cruelty and sexuality permeate the house where she grew up, but Lilian's sights are set on education, love and - finally - her own transcendent forms of independence. Lilian Singer, who starts life at the beginning of the twentieth century as the daughter of a prosperous middle-class Australian family and ends it as a cheerfully eccentric bag-lady living on the streets, quoting Shakespeare for a living.

y separately published work icon Eucalyptus : A Novel Murray Bail , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 1998 Z279634 1998 single work novel (taught in 8 units)

Holland lived with his only daughter, Ellen, by a khaki river four hours west of Sydney. In spite of their remote location, tales of Ellen's beauty had traveled long distances and in the process inscribed a small legend. But Ellen's desirability was Holland's blindspot and finally he decided that the man who correctly named every eucalypt on his property would win the hand of his daughter. (Source: Trove)

Description

A detailed study of selected poetry, prose and drama focusing on a range of Australian social, historical and cultural issues. The subject examines how Australian writers and writing have conceptualised and polemicised such topics as crime and punishment, identity and race, religion and spirituality, nature and environment, the past and the future, art and culture.

For futher information on EL3020, students should refer to: https://secure.jcu.edu.au/app/studyfinder/?subject=EL3020

Assessment

end of semester exam (40%); tutorial attendance and participation (20%); essays (40%).

Other Details

Offered in odd-numbered years in Townsville. Offered in even-numbered years in Cairns.

Offered in: 2011, 2010, 2009
Current Campus: Townsville, Internal
Levels: Undergraduate
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