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Issue Details: First known date: 2015... 2015 Mute Eloquence : Elizabeth Jolley’s The Well as Encrypted Melodrama
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Drawing on Derrida’s reading of the crypt as both secret place and no place (Fors, 1986), and on Catherine Malabou’s work on the plasticity of form, this essay argues that buried in Elizabeth Jolley’s The Well (1986) is a Pygmalion-esque melodrama about animated stones and the turning to stone of the animated. This essay shows how the novel’s juxtapositions of song and speech place it in a musical-dramatic tradition that, reaching back to antiquity, has crossed spatio-temporal borders and metamorphosed in migration through various media, genres and modalities (including theatre and novel). Like the words carved on the palm of a hand, The Well’s melodrama is partly buried within its written form. Melodrama is, in this Australian story, an encrypted imaginary that nevertheless animates the novel’s fascination with terrestrial death and sub-terrestrial life and its depiction of a human will to closure or burial that exists alongside a will to expose, transfer, transform and renew.' (Publication abstract)


  • Epigraph:

    See I will not forget you… I have carved you on the palm of my hand. The Well (161)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon JASAL Critical Soundings : Voice, Space and Sound in Australian Literature vol. 15 no. 1 2015 8859932 2015 periodical issue 2015
Last amended 19 Jan 2017 10:22:35 Mute Eloquence : Elizabeth Jolley’s The Well as Encrypted Melodramasmall AustLit logo JASAL
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