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Issue Details: First known date: 2014... 2014 Heriot's Ithaka : Soul, Country and the Possibility of Home in To The Islands
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The final line of Randolph Stow's To the Islands - " 'My soul', he whispered, over the sea-surge, 'my should is a strange country'" - has perplexed and fascinated readers and critics for five decades. In 1975 Leonie Kramer found Stow's final sentence to be misplaced: ‘It belongs – if indeed it belongs at all – not at the end of a novel of this kind, but near the beginning'. At a time when interest in Stow and his work is again on the ascendency, this paper investigates what Heriot might have appreciated his soul to be, before arguing that he could not have spoken those resonant words until the very moment when he is blinded by illumination atop the coastal cliff. Heriot walks into homelessness in a quest for home. Like Cavafy's ideal voyager his journey is long and hard, and only once he discovers his soul can he appreciate he has no home. Only then can he understand the true meaning of the islands.' (Publication abstract)


  • Epigraph:

    Keep Ithaka always in your mind.

    Arriving there is what you are destined for.

    But do not hurry the journey at all.

    Better if it lasts for years,

    so you are old by the time you reach the island,

    wealthy with all you have gained on the way . . .

    C.P. Cavafy, ‘Ithaka’

    Old king without a throne,

    the hollow of despair

    behind his obstinate unyielding stare,

    knows only, God is gone:

    and, fingers clenching on his chair,

    feels night and the soul’s terror coming on.

    Judith Wright, ‘The Harp and the King’

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon JASAL Country vol. 14 no. 3 2014 7916868 2014 periodical issue

    The BlackWords Symposium, held in October 2012, celebrated the fifth anniversary of the establishment of BlackWords, the AustLit-supported project recording information about, and research into, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and storytellers. The symposium showcased the exciting state of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creative writing and storytelling across all forms, contemporary scholarship on Indigenous writing, alongside programs such as the State Library of Queensland’s black&write! project, which supports writers’ fellowships, editing mentorships, and a trainee editor program for professional development for Indigenous editors. But really, the event was a celebration of the sort of thinking, the sort of resistance, and the re-writing of history that is evident in the epigraph to this introduction. ' (Source: Kilner, Kerry and Minter, Peter, JASAL Vol 14. No. 3, 2014: 1)

Last amended 19 Jan 2017 10:01:59 Heriot's Ithaka : Soul, Country and the Possibility of Home in To The Islandssmall AustLit logo JASAL
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