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Australian Literature: Traditions & Revisions (ENGL2100)
Semester 1 / 2015


y separately published work icon Fugitive Anne : A Romance of the Unexplored Bush Rosa Praed , London : John Long , 1903 Z234318 1903 single work novel adventure science fiction (taught in 1 units)

'Anne Bedo is unhappily married. Her husband, Elias, is an abusive drunk who cruelly mistreats her, and she decides she can't take it any more. While traveling by ship, Anne decides to make her escape. Making it appear as though she has gone mad and thrown herself overboard, she instead disembarks in disguise with her friend, the Aboriginal youth Kombo. Anne and Kombo venture through dangerous, unexplored country, braving the murderous tribes and cannibals, as she seeks to put distance between herself and her persecutor. During her travels, she meets up with Danish explorer Eric Hansen, and together, they make an astonishing discovery. Deep in the Australian wilderness lives a tribe of "Red Men," the Aca, part of the ancient Mayan race. Can Anne, Eric, and Kombo survive the myriad threats posed by savage cannibals, the Aca's "Death-Stone," and the vengeance of Elias Bedo? A "lost race" adventure novel in the tradition of H. Rider Haggard, Rosa Praed's "Fugitive Anne" (1902) also confronts important issues of the day, including colonialism and the difficulties faced by women trapped in bad marriages.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Valancourt edition).

y separately published work icon The Penguin Henry Lawson : Short Stories Henry Lawson , John Barnes (editor), Ringwood : Penguin , 1986 Z282880 1986 selected work short story humour (taught in 8 units)
y separately published work icon The Mystery of a Hansom Cab Fergus Hume , Melbourne : Kemp and Boyce , 1886 Z156928 1886 single work novel (taught in 8 units)

'Set in the charming and deadly streets of Melbourne, this vivid and brilliantly plotted murder thriller tells the story of a crime committed by an unknown assassin. With its panoramic depiction of a bustling yet uneasy city, Hansom Cab has a central place in Australian literary history and, more importantly, it remains highly readable. ' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon My Brilliant Career Miles Franklin , Edinburgh London : William Blackwood , 1901 Z161522 1901 single work novel (taught in 56 units)

'My Brilliant Career was written by Stella Franklin (1879-1954) when she was just nineteen years old. The novel struggled to find an Australian publisher, but was published in London and Edinburgh in 1901 after receiving an endorsement from Henry Lawson. Although Franklin wrote under the pseudonym 'Miles Franklin', Lawson’s preface makes it clear that Franklin is, as Lawson puts it 'a girl.'

'The novel relates the story of Sybylla Melvyn, a strong-willed young woman of the 1890s growing up in the Goulburn area of New South Wales and longing to be a writer.' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon His Natural Life For the Term of His Natural Life Marcus Clarke , 1870-1872 Z1032375 1870-1872 single work novel (taught in 15 units)

'Scarcely out of print since the early 1870s, For the Term of His Natural Life has provided successive generations with a vivid account of a brutal phase of colonial life. The main focus of this great convict novel is the complex interaction between those in power and those who suffer, made meaningful because of its hero's struggle against his wrongful imprisonment. Elements of romance, incidents of family life and passages of scenic description both relieve and give emphasis to the tragedy that forms its heart.' (Publication summary : Penguin Books 2009)


The course examines Australian literature from the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries in a wide range of genres: gothic, romance, mystery/crime, utopian, and realist. This period witnessed a 'print revolution' that some commentators have likened to the 'digital revolution' of our own time, as the volume and kinds of print material and the number of readers expanded dramatically. It was also a period when print forms–books, magazines and newspapers–moved rapidly across borders. Australian readers and writers were part of an international English-language world of print. At the same time, the late-nineteenth century saw the rise of nationalism in Australia, in both political and cultural domains; indeed, nationalism itelf was an international movement in this period. The course will examine literary, political, critical, and theoretical questions raised by these developments, through a diverse range of texts which have come to play a significant role in how we understand the emergence of Australian literature and its role in shaping a national culture and a distinctive society.