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Issue Details: First known date: 2014... 2014 Resisting Biopolitics through “Diaphanous Wonder”: Richard Flanagan's Gould's Book of Fish (2003)
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'In Gould's Book of Fish (2003), author Richard Flanagan manages to invent a format in which content and style account for historical events on Sarah Island, Tasmania in the 1820s, yet he does so in a manner that is not in the least objective, disinterested or fact-orientated. The perspective of Gould's Book of Fish's (Flanagan, 2003) first-person narrator is highly subjective, usually unreliable and always less than truthful. Flanagan (2003) thereby shows that literature can provide a form of knowledge that differs from historical truth, but without being its dialectical opposite. Literature can construct a non-referential narrative space in which experiences unfold that hardly unimaginable. Literature can show the urge and desire to understand historical events that are terrible to relate to. It can invent a story that can account for the consequences of a violent colonial system. Yet, above all, the novel stresses a desire to render stories of unspeakable horrors through what can be call the “becoming-fish” of its first-person narrator. This desire expresses a hyperbolic love of each and everyone, one which extends so far as to even include all the other wonders of this world in its account too. By depicting convicts and natives as loving and lovable persons, author Richard Flanagan (2003) refrains from reducing them to the colonial conditions in which they were caught up. He thereby offers a point of view that differs from Giorgio Agamben's (1998) highly influential account of “bare life.” I will take this perspective, in which life and its conditions cannot be lumped together, as a point of departure from which to criticise Agamben's (1998) transhistorical and transnational account of biopolitical determinations of life.' (Publication abstract)

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Last amended 17 Feb 2015 15:55:49 Resisting Biopolitics through “Diaphanous Wonder”: Richard Flanagan's Gould's Book of Fish (2003)small AustLit logo Rupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities