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y separately published work icon The Monkey's Mask single work   novel   crime  
  • Author:agent Dorothy Porter
Issue Details: First known date: 1994... 1994 The Monkey's Mask
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form y separately published work icon The Monkey's Mask Anne Kennedy , ( dir. Samantha Lang ) 2000 Victoria : Arena Films , 2000 Z823407 2000 single work film/TV crime

Jill Fitzpatrick is a 28-year-old lesbian struggling to find both a relationship and work as a private investigator. When she accepts a job investigating the disappearance of a young female university student named Mickey, she soon meets the girl's poetry lecturer, the seductive Diana. The discovery of Mickey's strangled body sees the case taken over by the police, but the girl's grief-stricken parents implore Jill to help find the murderer. As the inquiry leads Jill towards a passionate liaison with Diana, she finds herself also entering the seamy underworld of Mickey's intimate life. The search soon begins to raise more questions than answers. For whom did Mickey write her sexually charged poems and what is the connection between Mickey and her two favourite poets? As Jill digs deeper, threatening messages in verse are left on her answering machine. Blinded by her passion, Jill is compromised in her search for the truth--until her own life is in danger.


  • Novel in verse form.
  • Dedication: for Gwen Harwood
  • Epigraph: Year after year / On the monkey's face / A monkey's mask. Basho

    'What do you want a poet for?' / 'To save the City, of course.' Aristophanes

    You see these grey hairs? Well, making whoopee with the intelligentsia was the way I earned them. Dorothy Parker

  • Adapted for the stage play 'The Monkey's Mask' by Marianne Bryant and Peter Nettell in 1998.
  • Broadcast on ABC Radio National's Airplay in February 2009.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • South Melbourne, South Melbourne - Port Melbourne area, Melbourne - Inner South, Melbourne, Victoria,: Hyland House , 1994 .
      image of person or book cover 3469099117893898337.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 255p.
      Description: illus.
      ISBN: 1875657436
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      United States of America (USA),
      Arcade ,
      1995 .
      image of person or book cover 3355770850969660933.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 260p.
      Edition info: First North American edition.
      ISBN: 1559703040
    • London,
      United Kingdom (UK),
      Western Europe, Europe,
      Serpent's Tail ,
      1997 .
      image of person or book cover 2635772717560801368.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Alternative title: The Monkey's Mask : an erotic murder mystery
      Extent: 260p.
      ISBN: 1852425490
Alternative title: Die Affenmaske
Language: German
    • Salzburg,
      Western Europe, Europe,
      Residenz Verlag ,
      1997 .
      image of person or book cover 7305877051720152480.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 219p.
      ISBN: 3701710414

Other Formats

  • Also braille, sound recording.

Works about this Work

Australia in Three Books Justine Hyde , 2018 single work review
— Appears in: Meanjin , Winter vol. 77 no. 2 2018; (p. 21-24)

— Review of Loaded Christos Tsiolkas , 1995 single work novel ; Suck My Toes Fiona McGregor , 1994 selected work short story ; The Monkey's Mask Dorothy Porter , 1994 single work novel

'Literature is a reflection of the culture that spawns it. As a queer teenager growing up in Sydney’s outer western suburbs, my access to literature was limited to the books we had at home—airport novels—and the small collection at my high school library, mostly classics. So far as I knew, old white men wrote books; Ruth Park, Ursula Le Guin, Virginia Andrews and Danielle Steele were the exceptions.' (Introduction)

form y separately published work icon The Book Club [25 April 2017] Sydney : Australian Broadcasting Corporation , 2017 15261376 2017 film/TV

Host Jennifer Byrne joins regular panelists Marieke Hardy and Jason Steger, and guests Omar Musa and C.S. Pacat to discuss and review the international book Exit West and Australian novel, The Monkey's Mask by Dorothy Porter.

y separately published work icon 'The Monkey's Mask' : Film, Poetry and the Female Voice Rebecca Louise , St Kilda : Atom , 2012 Z1927382 2012 single work criticism 'A study of the ways in which the female voice is articulated in the novel and film adaptation of The Monkey's Mask. Through an analysis of the female voices within the film and novel, this book draws on Kaja Silverman's and Elizabeth Grosz's interpretation of Luce Irigaray's 'feminine language' to explore the ways in which the female body is voiced. It looks at the female voices within Samantha Lang's 2001 film. This book explores the ways in which image and voice work to express women's subjectivity.

It also discusses Dorothy Porter's 1994 verse novel The Monkey's Mask and the ways in which the female voice is articulated within Porter's text. Drawing on Silverman's argument that the embodied female voice in film works to contain the woman in the symbolic although the female characters' voices are embodied, their poetic language breaks down the subject-object dichotomy of the symbolic order. However, in its attempt to fulfil detective narrative conventions, the film adaptation privileges the unity and closure of the phallocentric language critiqued by Irigaray.

Compared with the novel, the film adaptation privileges masculine unity and truth over Porter's complex multiplicity. Porter uses the hysteric strategy through her parody of the detective genre and thereby brings to the foreground the complexity of female sexuality. In Porter's novel the relationship between female detective Jill and murder-victim Mickey reveals a continuous link between the living and the dead, bringing to light Irigaray's model of the maternal genealogy in which the mother is freed from the burial given to her by a phallocentric culture at the onset of motherhood. Porter's use of elegy rejects Silverman's suggested severance of the mother-daughter connection which Silverman argues is necessary for identity.'

Source: Trove catalogue record
Animal Handlers : Australian Women Writers on Sexuality and the Female Body Odette Kelada , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Outskirts : Feminisms along the Edge , May vol. 26 no. 2012;
'The year 2011 saw the igniting of mass protest around the issue of sexual double standards for women with numerous marches worldwide called 'SlutWalks'. Thousands of women across a range of countries including America, Europe, Britain and Australia took to the streets to defend the right of women to dress and behave freely without stigmatisation and violence. The 'SlutWalks' started in reaction to a local policeman in Toronto telling a class of college students to avoid dressing like 'sluts' if they did not wish to be victimised (SlutWalk Toronto site). The public protest in response to this incident demonstrates resistance to historically embedded discourses that demean women's sexuality and blame women for abuse and rape they suffer. Terms such as 'slut' perpetuate a virgin/whore dichotomy fundamental to the oppression of female sexual self-expression. These marches are a recent example that follows on from a tradition of mass protests for women's sexual equality and right to safety such as 'Reclaim the Night'. Drawing on writing and conversations with poets Dorothy Porter and Gig Ryan, novelists Drusilla Modjeska, Kate Grenville, Carmel Bird and Melissa Lucashenko and playwright, Leah Purcell, this article offers insights into individual creative women's responses to this theme of women's sexuality. I argue that the work and ideas of these women are examples of the unique and powerful dialogue that can happen through a focus on creativity and female stories in Australia.' (Author's introduction)
The Silver Age of Fiction Peter Pierce , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin , Summer vol. 70 no. 4 2011; (p. 110-115)

‘In human reckoning, Golden Ages are always already in the past. The Greek poet Hesiod, in Works and Days, posited Five Ages of Mankind: Golden, Silver, Bronze, Heroic and Iron (Ovid made do with four). Writing in the Romantic period, Thomas Love Peacock (author of such now almost forgotten novels as Nightmare Abbey, 1818) defined The Four Ages of Poetry (1820) in which their order was Iron, Gold, Silver and Bronze. To the Golden Age, in their archaic greatness, belonged Homer and Aeschylus. The Silver Age, following it, was less original, but nevertheless 'the age of civilised life'. The main issue of Peacock's thesis was the famous response that he elicited from his friend Shelley - Defence of Poetry (1821).’ (Publication abstract)

Poetry of Sticky Moments Jill Jones , 1995 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Women's Book Review , March vol. 7 no. 1 1995; (p. 3-4)

— Review of The Monkey's Mask Dorothy Porter , 1994 single work novel
Bewitched Kristin Henry , 1994 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 22 October 1994; (p. 9)

— Review of Wishbone Marion Halligan , 1994 single work novel ; The Monkey's Mask Dorothy Porter , 1994 single work novel
Death to Bad Poets Martin Duwell , 1995 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 21-22 January 1995; (p. rev 4)

— Review of Ghosting William Buckley Barry Hill , 1993 single work poetry ; The Monkey's Mask Dorothy Porter , 1994 single work novel
Deep Throats Lee Cataldi , 1995 single work review
— Appears in: Overland , Spring no. 140 1995; (p. 82-83)

— Review of Anima and Other Poems Bruce Beaver , 1994 selected work poetry ; The Monkey's Mask Dorothy Porter , 1994 single work novel
[Review] The Monkey's Mask Paula Grunseit , 1994 single work review
— Appears in: New Librarian , July vol. 1 no. 5 1994; (p. 52)

— Review of The Monkey's Mask Dorothy Porter , 1994 single work novel
Poetic Passion Eulea Kiraly , 2001 single work criticism
— Appears in: Muse , June no. 207 2001; (p. 5)
The Monkey's Mask and the Poetics of Excision Felicity Plunkett , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: 'Unemployed at Last!' : Essays on Australian Literature to 2002 for Julian Croft 2002; (p. 72-85)
This essay discusses Dorothy Porter's The Monkey's Mask in the light of some critical reviews of the verse novel, particularly that of Fiona Moorhead who had complained that it didn't really meet the criteria of the conventional genre of detective novels. Plunkett argues that at the heart of the novel, and the complaints against it, is the idea of a 'poetics of excision', a focus on what the text doesn't do, 'its silences and refusals'.
Narrative Poetry Rosemary Huisman , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Five Bells , Spring vol. 11 no. 4 2004; (p. 15-18)
A Pint-Sized Cliff Hardy: Dorothy Porter and the Niche Marketing of Australia Penny Jones , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , December vol. 18 no. 2 2004; (p. 105-112)
Poetry and Desire: The Work of Dorothy Porter Paul Sharrad , 2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: Explorations in Australian Literature 2006; (p. 66-82) Indian Journal of World Literature and Culture , July-December vol. 2 no. 2006; (p. 11-22)
Last amended 8 Dec 2017 15:04:16