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Australian Writing in the Postmodern Age (also appears as: Australian Literature 1988 to Present) (ASLT2609)
Semester 2 / 2014


y separately published work icon Foxybaby Elizabeth Jolley , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1985 Z385173 1985 single work novel (taught in 2 units) 'Alma Porch, novelist and aspiring dramatist, is hired to teach a course in Trinity College's "Better Body Through the Arts" summer program for overweight adults. On the rundown campus in the remote Australian outback, Alma is surrounded by starving matrons, orgies of sex and gluttony, and an eccentric group of staff and students who are eager to open themselves to the transforming possibilities of her screenplay, "Foxybaby." As the students develop their roles and film this story of a father trying to rescue his runaway daughter and her baby from discos and drugs, the play becomes a kind of therapy and begins to unite and console the lonely hearts of this unlikely group in surprising ways.In this wise and frequently uproarious book, Elizabeth Jolley is at her provocative best.' (Publisher's blurb)
y separately published work icon The Swan Book Alexis Wright , Artarmon : Giramondo Publishing , 2013 Z1836223 2013 single work novel (taught in 14 units)

'The new novel by Alexis Wright, whose previous novel Carpentaria won the Miles Franklin Award and four other major prizes including the Australian Book Industry Awards Literary Fiction Book of the Year Award. The Swan Book is set in the future, with Aboriginals still living under the Intervention in the north, in an environment fundamentally altered by climate change. It follows the life of a mute teenager called Oblivia, the victim of gang-rape by petrol-sniffing youths, from the displaced community where she lives in a hulk, in a swamp filled with rusting boats, and thousands of black swans driven from other parts of the country, to her marriage to Warren Finch, the first Aboriginal president of Australia, and her elevation to the position of First Lady, confined to a tower in a flooded and lawless southern city. The Swan Book has all the qualities which made Wright’s previous novel, Carpentaria, a prize-winning best-seller. It offers an intimate awareness of the realities facing Aboriginal people; the wild energy and humour in her writing finds hope in the bleakest situations; and the remarkable combination of storytelling elements, drawn from myth and legend and fairy tale.' (Publisher's blurb)

y separately published work icon The Plains Gerald Murnane , Carlton : Nostrilia Press , 1982 Z459249 1982 single work novel (taught in 2 units)

'Twenty years ago, when I first arrived on the plains, I kept my eyes open. I looked for anything in the landscape that seemed to hint at some elaborate meaning behind appearances.

'There is no book in Australian literature like The Plains. In the two decades since its first publication, this haunting novel has earned its status as a classic. A nameless young man arrives on the plains and begins to document the strange and rich culture of the plains families. As his story unfolds, the novel becomes, in the words of Murray Bail, ‘a mirage of landscape, memory, love and literature itself’.' (Publication summary : Text Classics)

y separately published work icon The Sitters Alex Miller , Ringwood : Viking , 1995 Z237936 1995 single work novel (taught in 2 units)


Must one country's postmodernism look the same as another's? Must one hemisphere's? Concentrating upon works written since 1988, this course looks at some of the early texts of Australian postmodernism, the domestic and international contexts in which they took seed, and how Australian postmodernism has subsequently developed, asking as it does so whether it has any distinguishing features, trying to explain what these might be, and how they might have come about.


1 x 1500wd essay (30%)

1 x 3000wd take-home exercise (70%)