'In the mid-1840s, a thirteen-year-old boy, Gemmy Fairley, is cast ashore in the far north of Australia and taken in by Aborigines. Sixteen years later, when settlers reach the area, he moves back into the world of Europeans, men and women who are staking out their small patch of home in an alien place, hopeful and yet terrified of what it might do to them.
Given shelter by the McIvors, the family of the children who originally made contact with him, Gemmy seems at first to be guaranteed a secure role in the settlement, but there are currents of fear and mistrust in the air. To everyone he meets - from George Abbot, the romantically aspiring young teacher, to Mr Frazer, the minister, whose days are spent with Gemmy recording the local flora; from Janet McIvor, just coming to adulthood and discovering new versions of the world, to the eccentric Governor of Queensland himself - Gemmy stands as a different kind of challenge, as a force which both fascinates and repels. And Gemmy himself finds his own whiteness as unsettling in this new world as the knowledge he brings with him of the savage, the Aboriginal.' - Publisher's blurb (Chatto & Windus, 1993).
'The article offers information about author David Malouf. It mentions that Malouf has extolled the complication of women in ancient Greek drama and written the book "Remembering Babylon" about Australian settlement. It also mentions that there was a grand push to triumphalise Australian literature post Bicentennial.' (Publication abstract)
'This is the first in-depth, broad-based study of the impact of the Australian High Court’s landmark Mabo decision of 1992 on Australian fiction. More than any other event in Australia’s legal, political and cultural history, the Mabo judgement – which recognised indigenous Australians’ customary native title to land – challenged previous ways of thinking about land and space, settlement and belonging, race and relationships, and nation and history, both historically and contemporaneously. While Mabo’s impact on history, law, politics and film has been the focus of scholarly attention, the study of its influence on literature has been sporadic and largely limited to examinations of non-Aboriginal novels.
'Now, a quarter of a century after Mabo, this book takes a closer look at nineteen contemporary novels – including works by David Malouf, Alex Miller, Kate Grenville, Thea Astley, Tim Winton, Michelle de Kretser, Richard Flanagan, Alexis Wright and Kim Scott – in order to define and describe Australia’s literary imaginary as it reflects and articulates post-Mabo discourse today. Indeed, literature’s substantial engagement with Mabo’s cultural legacy – the acknowledgement of indigenous people’s presence in the land, in history, and in public affairs, as opposed to their absence – demands a re-writing of literary history to account for a “Mabo turn” in Australian fiction. ' (Publication summary)
'This article focuses particularly upon David Malouf’s novel Remembering Babylon as it examines Malouf as a spiritual writer whose works explore the liminality of space in Australia and the boundaries between worlds, both real and literary. The article moves between the classical studies of John Keble and the philosophy of Martin Heidegger to establish the place of the sacramental in Malouf’s writings, a novelist and poet who bears comparison with the French poet Yves Bonnefoy.' (Publication abstract)
‘David Malouf’s novel Remembering Babylon (1993) enjoys a prominent place in the contemporary Australian literary landscape and raises a number of intriguing ideas about pedagogy and whiteness, which this essay explores. The essay does so on the premise, admittedly open to examination, that literature has a role to play in enabling connections across cultures, even cultures (or perhaps particularly cultures) that would seem to have much in common, like Australia and the United States: the English language, a history of British colonization, democratic forms of government, popular cultures promoted by global corporations. By focusing on Malouf’s novel through the calibrated lens of critical whiteness pedagogy, students are offered some distance, or difference, that will allow discussions of whiteness that can then be interrogated in the students’ own learning and social contexts, including but also extending beyond personal experience. This approach aligns with observations in pedagogical literature that an emphasis on individual circumstances alone ‘effectively limits any systematic challenge of the systemic structures’ (Solomon et al. 161). Engagement with Malouf’s novel additionally provides students with the opportunity to enter into a fictional space that invites extratextual immersion in a culture or cultures other than their own. This challenge raises the issues of power and knowledge that Malouf’s novel subtly thematizes and that can be a close reading of the text coupled with contextual material.’ (Introduction)
This article examines the portrayal of settlers as consciously differentiating their whiteness from what they regard as inferior races and cultures and discusses white Australia's process of reconciliation with Aboriginal Australia.