AustLit logo
Issue Details: First known date: 2009... 2009 Reversed Nature, Dislocation, and Self-Commissioning
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Different from the American Pilgrim Fathers, the early Europeans come to Australia without a dignified purpose. What’s worse, the Australian landscape defies their efforts to find a mission in local context. Everything here is different, alien and unaccountable, thwarting all attempts to subject it to European cognizance and interpretation. Even the most ardent scientist cannot find a proper mode of linguistic expression for the alien landscape, which leads to the disjunction between discourse and place. However, initial efforts are made by early settlers to find themselves a culturally and psychologically sustaining purpose. Self-commissioning takes such various forms as exploration, scientific studies and settlement, all of which are related, in a subtle but tenacious manner, to the British Empire and to their own past. Yet it is easy to put Australian on the map of the world, but it is difficult to subject the new world to the general scheme of the Empire. It simply refuses to be part of it. The wrestling with a troubled identity drives them to missionary activities in the land, which unfortunately further exacerbates the crisis rather than overcoming it, for in doing so, they forsake the sense of belonging “there”, only to find they can hardly belong “here”. ' (69-70)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon From Fixity to Fluidity : The Theme of Identity in Thomas Keneally's Fiction Xiaojin Zhou , Qindao : China Ocean University Press , 2009 Z1741824 2009 multi chapter work criticism

    'Born into an Irish Catholic family in Sydney, Thomas Keneally published his first novel, The Place at Whitton, in 1964, four years after he abandoned his study for priesthood. The success of that gothic horror set in a seminary triggered a successful writing career of over forty years, in which he produced 25 novels, while making frequent and fruitful incursions into the world of nonfiction. Today Keneally is Australia’s best-known writer and Australia’s living treasure. Although Spielberg’s Schindler’s List became a media event and a household word in the 1990s, it hardly qualified Keneally as an overnight sensation. By that time, Keneally was already a widely acclaimed writer in Britain and America, truly “international”, as the Australians would like to put it, since he had publishers on both sides of the Atlantic and had won the 1982 Booker Prize. Despite discernible changes in his earlier and later works, it’s almost impossible, even as a critical expediency, to divide Keneally’s writing career into clearly marked stages. Writing on both “Australian” and “international” themes, and constantly shifting between past and present, Keneally failed to follow the normal path of arrival, growth and maturity, much to the disappointment of some Australian critics, who eagerly delighted in anticipating the destination of his literary journey...' (Author's introduction)

    Qindao : China Ocean University Press , 2009
    pg. 69-77
Last amended 18 Sep 2015 06:44:33
69-77 Reversed Nature, Dislocation, and Self-Commissioningsmall AustLit logo
    Powered by Trove