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y separately published work icon Remembering Babylon single work   novel   historical fiction  
  • Author:agent David Malouf http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/malouf-david
Issue Details: First known date: 1993... 1993 Remembering Babylon
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'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Given shelter by the McIvors, the family of the children who originally made contact with him, Gemmy seems at first to be guaranteed a secure role in the settlement, but there are currents of fear and mistrust in the air.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).

Notes

  • Epigraph: 'Whether this is Jerusalem or Babylon we know not' (William Blake: The Four Zoas).
  • Epigraph: 'Strange shapes and void afflict the soul / And shadow to the eye / A world on fire while smoke seas roll / And lightnings rend the sky / The moon shall be as blood the sun / Black as a thunder cloud / The stars shall turn to blue and dun / And heaven by darkness bowed / Shall make sun dark and give no day / When stars like skys shall be / When heaven and earth shall pass away / Wilt thou Remember me' (John Clare).
  • Other formats: Also braille, sound recording, large print.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Milsons Point, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Chatto and Windus ; Random House ,
      1993 .
      image of person or book cover 393745986406016794.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online
      Extent: 202p.
      ISBN: 0701158832
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Pantheon Books ,
      1993 .
      image of person or book cover 38804894386959304.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 200p.
      Edition info: 1st American ed.
      ISBN: 0679427244
    • Toronto, Ontario,
      c
      Canada,
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Knopf ,
      1993 .
      Extent: 202p.
      Edition info: 1st Canadian ed.
      ISBN: 0394280075
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Vintage ,
      1994 .
      Extent: 202p.
      ISBN: 009930242X
Alternative title: Herinnering aan Babylon
Language: Dutch
    • Amsterdam,
      c
      Netherlands,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Van Gennep ,
      1994 .
      Extent: 215p.
      ISBN: 9060129822

Works about this Work

The First Night Out of Eden : David Malouf’s Remembering Babylon David Jasper , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Literature and Theology , June vol. 31 no. 2 2017; (p. 215–230)

'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)

Relearning Whiteness : David Malouf's Remembering Babylon Tanya Dalziell , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Teaching Australian and New Zealand Literature 2016; (p. 155-164)

‘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)

'Terror Nullius' : Contemporary Australian Frontier Fictions in the Classroom Russell West-Pavlov , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Teaching Australian and New Zealand Literature 2016; (p. 67-76)

‘A fire hydrant on a street corner in Carlton, in inner-city Melbourne, carries an ephemeral stencilled graffito : ‘terror nullius.’ The graffito is a pun on the legal doctrine of terra nullius, Latin for ‘nobody’s land,’ which dictated that any territory found by a colonizing power could be occupied and claimed if it was deemed not to be inhabited by prior occupants. Typically it was deployed by the British, for example, in a number of rulings in the mid- to late – nineteenth century, (Reynolds, 'Frontier History' 4) to legitimize their colonial conquests around the so-called New World, in particular in Australia. Its hegemony as a legal fiction was ended by the Australian High Court’s historic Mabo ruling of 1992, which deemed that so-called native title, that is, Indigenous possession of Australia, had existed before and after British occupation and the declaration of sovereignty in 1788 (Butt, Eagleson, and Lane).’ (Introduction)

Manifestations of Landscape, Language and Ethnicity in Post-War Australian Literature Deepkumar J. Trivedi , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Narratives of Estrangement and Belonging : Indo-Australian Perspectives 2016; (p. 75-92)

'The post-war Australian literature offers multitude in terms of ethnicity. The talk of Aborigines, the stories of the whites, the psychological state of a migrant mind, the idea of home, the civilization and savagery, superiority and inferiority, rationality and sensuality, these all share the pages of Australian literature…' (75)

Multiple Homes and Unhomely Belonging Anne Holden Rønning , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Le Simplegadi , no. 16 2016; (p. 50-60)

In a society where migration plays a significant role our identities become ambivalent to ourselves and only partly legible to others. This article will reflect on the role of the written word, political, social, and literary, as a narrative of multiple homes. Among the issues which determine the discourses and narratives of ‘multiple homes’ and ‘unhomely belonging’ are language and language politics (situational or real), beliefs about identities as solid and identifiable, constant border-crossings as central to many people’s lives, and the collision of social and cultural codes in the meanings and practices assigned to ‘the foreigner’.

Full Text PDF

[Review] Remembering Babylon David A. Myers , 1993-1994 single work review
— Appears in: The Commonwealth Review , vol. 5 no. 2 1993-1994; (p. 172-174)

— Review of Remembering Babylon David Malouf , 1993 single work novel
Do Not Shoot : I Am a British Object Amanda Nettelbeck , 1993 single work review
— Appears in: The CRNLE Reviews Journal , no. 2 1993; (p. 30-32)

— Review of Remembering Babylon David Malouf , 1993 single work novel
Artful Cynthia Blanche , 1994 single work review
— Appears in: Quadrant , January-February vol. 38 no. 1-2 1994; (p. 115-117)

— Review of Crocodile on the Thames Peter Ferguson , 1993 single work novel ; Art Rat Robert Wallace , 1993 single work novel ; Remembering Babylon David Malouf , 1993 single work novel ; Bitters End David Owen , 1993 single work novel
Centring the Other Suzanne Falkiner , 1993 single work review
— Appears in: Voices , Winter vol. 3 no. 2 1993; (p. 117-120)

— Review of Remembering Babylon David Malouf , 1993 single work novel
Destined to Endure Peter Straus , 1993 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , May no. 150 1993; (p. 6-7)

— Review of Remembering Babylon David Malouf , 1993 single work novel
Racializing Babylon : Settler Whiteness and the 'New Racism' Penelope Ingram , 2001 single work criticism
— Appears in: New Literary History , Winter vol. 32 no. 1 2001; (p. 159-176)

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.

The Paradoxes of Marginalisation : David Malouf and the 'Great World' Marc Delrez , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Global and the Particular in the English Speaking World 2002; (p. 97-105)
Alchemical Tropes of Irish Diaspora in David Malouf's Conversations at Curlow Creek and Remembering Babylon James Bulman-May , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: Nordic-Irish Studies , no. 1 2002; (p. 63-76)
B-b-british Objects : Possession, Naming, and Translation in David Malouf's Remembering Babylon Alice Brittan , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: PMLA , October vol. 117 no. 5 2002; (p. 1158-1171)
Author's abstract: 'Imported material forms were central to the settlement of Australia as a penal colony, beginning with the "discovery" of the continent by James Cook, who took possession of New South Wales in 1770 by naming Possession Island. The first part of this article traces the intersection in early journals and legal records between material instability and naming, arguing that as Aboriginal peoples and convicts challenged the social meaning of objects, the ability to refer to those objects became essential. The second part explores failed naming in David Malouf's novel "Remembering Babylon" (1993), set on the early-nineteenth-century frontier, whose central character calls himself a "B-b-british object," stuttered words that evoke the historical importance and the vulnerability of imported goods during colonization and settlement in Australia.'
The Call of the Wild : The Strange Cases of David Malouf's Gemmy Fairly and Arun Joshi's Billy Biswas K. Radha , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: Austral-Asian Encounters : From Literature and Women's Studies to Politics and Tourism 2003; (p. 156-163)
Last amended 28 Aug 2018 08:50:36
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