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Reconfiguring the National Imaginary
Issue Details: First known date: 2013... vol. 13 no. 3 2013 of JASAL est. 2002 JASAL
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Notes

  • Contents indexed selectively.

Contents

* Contents derived from the 2013 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Ethical Resonance in a Postcolonial Register : Andrew McGahan’s The White Earth, Saadi Nikro , single work criticism
'In presenting Andrew McGahan with the Miles Franklin Award in 2005 for his novel The White Earth, the judges note that the author “subjects postcolonial Australia to a searing analysis”. As they go on to say the work “draws on the full resources of the novel as an imaginative form to explore some of the most urgent social and political issues haunting Australians today”. In the short paragraph published on the Award’s website, they mention the two main characters—nine year old William and his patron, his great uncle John McIvor. Throughout the novel the boy carries a festering, almost numbing wound in his ear. “William’s disease”, the judges observe, “is literally the burden of the past”. This essay traces an ethical register in McGahan’s novel, and argues that the historical index entwined in the novel relates not so much to “the burden of the past”, but rather to the burden of a present.' (Publication abstract)
The Passing of the Half-Castes : Gavin Casey, Leonard Mann and the Postwar ‘Half-Caste’ Novel, Rich Pascal , single work criticism
'The two decades following the end of the Second World War marked a historically significant shift in mainstream Australians’ attitudes toward what had previously been thought of as the ‘Aboriginal problem,’ culminating in the famous referendum of 1967 that for the first time endorsed federal empowerment over Aboriginal affairs. Not coincidentally, it was in that period that an unprecedented number of narratives appeared that focused upon Indigenous Australians, especially the so-called ‘half-castes.’ Most of the texts that registered that shift, and perhaps helped to accelerate it, have since been ignored or regarded dismissively by literary scholars and cultural commentators. Among them were some remarkably observant and well crafted novels that are, as such, worthy of reclamation from obscurity; several repay close analytical readings. Of greater interest still, perhaps, is their collective importance as a genre that signified the change that was occurring in the social milieu that produced them. This discussion focuses upon two of the most interesting of the postwar “half-caste” novels: Gavin Casey’s Snowball (1958) and Leonard Mann’s Venus Half-Caste (1963). It argues that both of these now largely forgotten works, in aspiring to present the postwar social world to mainstream readers as though through Aboriginal eyes, were not only rewardingly complex works of fiction, but of considerable cultural significance in a time when Australia was revisiting longstanding assumptions about the position of its most oppressed minority. Ultimately, it further suggests, these and other narratives focusing on mixed-descent Australians may well have contributed to the demise of the very notion of the now antiquated and distinctively offensive term ‘half-caste’—as well as to the major shift in mainstream opinion registered in the 1967 federal referendum by a vote that overwhelmingly endorsed the incorporation of Indigenous people within the national community.' (Publication abstract)
Benang : A Worldly Book, Roger Osborne , Gillian Whitlock , single work criticism
'This article draws on recent trends in Australian literary criticism to scan new horizons for readings of Kim Scott’s novel Benang and, more generally, to consider the networks that shape various scenes of reading and interpretive communities for the production and reception of Australian Indigenous writing.' (Publication abstract)
Affective and Transnational : The Bounding Kangaroo, Michael Farrell , single work criticism
'The following article is concerned with poetic uses of the word ‘kangaroo’ locally and transnationally, with particular notice given to affective aspects of this use, as well as the associated figuring of racial and/or national divisions. Attention to such relational aspects inevitably means attention to kangaroos not just as a linguistic term, but, also, as represented beings. In what follows we will meet happy kangaroos, sad kangaroos, terrified kangaroos and awesome kangaroos. Given that Michael Ackland refers to the kangaroo as ‘a metonym for the [Australian] landscape’ (25), I consider what these representations have to say about how land is represented in the Australian poems of Barron Field and Charles Harpur, as well as in a poem by D. H. Lawrence. What do kangaroos do, what are they doing in American poems? In texts Emily Dickinson and Frank O’Hara, they have been appropriated respectively for purposes of metaphor and metonym.' (Publication abstract)
The Mystery of a Hansom Cab : Locating Status Anxiety within the 'Colonial Ware', Helen Machalias , single work criticism

'The Melbourne of Fergus Hume's The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (1886) represented the realisation of the dreams of the hopeful men who had emigrated to the city in the 1850s hoping for an educated literary minded populace (Stewart 1975: 129). Hume's bestseller novel reflects the literary culture of the time, simultaneously defined by a consciousness of distance from the centre and an awareness of a burgeoning national culture. Alongside the murders and intrigue of the plot, the novel is dominated by

allusions to popular genre fiction and Victorian novelists, as well as mythical, biblical and classical references that result in the impression that Melbourne is not only a peripheral city, but lacks any discernable sense of identity.

Beginning with an account of Hume's citational style and its relation to the problems of writing in the colony for both local and international readerships, this article draws comparisons between Hume's and Marcus Clarke's work, analysing Hume's attempted filiation with a crime genealogy, his allusion to contemporary cultural events in Melbourne and how Hume's tastes and cultural values betray a colonial anxiety about Australia's relation to established literary traditions. Ultimately, these citations become increasingly self-conscious, and the construction of Melbourne as a cosmopolitan metropolis undertaken by Hume is ultimately undercut by admissions that the colony appears to be resistant to high culture.

'Beginning with an account of Hume's citational style and its relation to the problems of writing in the colony for both local and international readerships, this article draws comparisons between Hume's and Marcus Clarke's work, analysing Hume's attempted filiation with a crime genealogy, his allusion to contemporary cultural events in Melbourne and how Hume's tastes and cultural values betray a colonial anxiety about Australia's relation to established literary traditions. Ultimately, these citations become increasingly self-conscious, and the construction of Melbourne as a cosmopolitan metropolis undertaken by Hume is ultimately undercut by admissions that the colony appears to be resistant to high culture.' (Publication abstract))

The Modern Uncanny and Christina Stead's 'The Marionettist', William Lane , single work criticism

'This paper argues that Christina Stead's short story, 'The Marionettist,' a story from her 1934 collection, The Salzburg Tales, is felt as uncanny. This paper is in part a response to a 2003 paper by Michael Ackland, which traces the debt 'The Marionettist' owes to E.T.A. Hoffmann's writing. This is a debt which, Ackland argues, does not extend to producing uncanny effects. This paper takes a different view, arguing that not only is 'The Marionettist' felt as uncanny, but that it derives its uncanny effects from various sources. Some of these sources correspond to the different classes of uncanny identified by Sigmund Freud in his 1919 essay, 'The Uncanny.' These classes are the repressed, the surmounted, and the death drive. My reading of Stead's story emphasizes Freud's suggestion that uncanny effects are dependent on timeless, or archaic, processes. In making this point a distinction is made between the content of the processes (for example, what is repressed), and the processes themselves (the act of repressing), and it is argued that only the content is historically susceptible. The paper proposes that this complicates a tendency by recent writers on the uncanny to limit the uncanny to modernity.' (Publication abstract)

In Her Father's House : Gwen Harwood as a Sacramental Poet, Sarah Golsby-Smith , single work criticism
'This article considers the ways in which it is possible to interpret Gwen Harwood's poetry not only through the lens of what has been termed "the sacred", but more specifically as sacramental poetry whose form and content pursues the grace of the Eucharist. While the Eucharist brings with it notions of received power - and a male and Eurocentric locus of that power - this article considers the ways in which Harwood's poetry reconfigures and recentres the sacraments to render them distinctly female and distinctly Australian. This article goes further to suggest that Harwood's poetry could be said to be more theologically orthodox in this pursuit than a first guess might suggest, tracing Harwood's sacramentalism to other writers for whom a serious consideration of the Eucharist necessitates local and corporeal iterations of the Last (and first) Supper. A consideration is given to several of Harwood's poems, bearing out a discussion of Harwood's interest in the sacraments as not only epistemological and phenomenological, but fundamentally poetic.' (Publication abstract)
Michael Ackland : The Experimental Fiction of Murray Bail, Richard Scott Carr , single work review
— Review of The Experimental Fiction of Murray Bail Michael Ackland , 2012 multi chapter work criticism ;
Biography of a Book : Henry Lawson’s While the Billy Boils, by Paul Eggert, Peter Pierce , single work review
— Review of Biography of a Book : Henry Lawson's While the Billy Boils Paul Eggert , 2013 single work criticism ;
Australian Patriography : How Sons Write Fathers in Contemporary Life Writing, Stephen Mansfield, Philip Butterss , single work review
— Review of Australian Patriography : How Sons Write Fathers in Contemporary Life Writing Stephen Mansfield , 2013 multi chapter work criticism ;
Colonial Dickens : What Australians Made of the World’s Favourite Writer, by Kylie Mirmohamadi and Susan K. Martin, Damien Barlow , single work
— Review of Colonial Dickens : What Australians Made of the World's Favourite Author Kylie Mirmohamadi , Susan K. Martin , 2012 single work criticism ;
A Master's Chef : Cheon of the Never Never, by Kevin Wong Hoy, Alison Broinowski , single work review
— Review of Cheon of the Never Never Kevin Wong Hoy , 2012 single work prose ;
Toby Davidson. Christian Mysticism and Australian Poetry, Elaine Lindsay , single work review
— Review of Christian Mysticism and Australian Poetry Toby Davidson , 2013 multi chapter work criticism ;
Notes on the Context Of Ada Cambridge’s The Perversity Of Human Nature, Susan Lever , Elizabeth Morrison , single work criticism
'This note gives biographical background to the publication of Cambridge's short novel, The Perversity of Human Nature and considers some of its references to the Aesthetic Movement and to St Kilda in the 1880s.'

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Last amended 19 Jan 2017 09:34:30
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