AustLit logo
Issue Details: First known date: 1989... 1989 Black Words, White Page : Aboriginal Literature 1929-1988
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.

Latest Issues

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Shoemaker's primary concern is to look at the beginning of 'black people's' writing in Australia since the 1960s and focus on the nascent literary canon emerging through Aboriginal writing. Shoemaker moves the readership through non-Aboriginal authors such as Katharine Susannah Prichard (1929) and Xavier Herbert (1938) in a chapter entitled 'Popular Perceptions of Unpopular People to Progress and Frustrated Expectations: The Era Since 1961'. Where Aboriginal writing begins, for Shoemaker's purposes, is an area of literary production he describes as 'fourth world literature'.

Notes

  • Dedication: To Johanna Dykgraaf, for her time and care.
  • Other formats: Also e-book.

Contents

* Contents derived from the St Lucia, Indooroopilly - St Lucia area, Brisbane - North West, Brisbane, Queensland,:University of Queensland Press , 1989 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Australia's Fourth World Literature, Adam Shoemaker , 1989 single work criticism
In this examination of the literature produced in Australia by Aboriginal writers, Shoemaker takes the 1975 World Council of Indigenous Peoples definition of The 'Fourth World' as a phrase to describe Indigenous minorities. Beginning with Kath Walker's We Are Going (1964), Shoemaker traces the beginnings of Aboriginal literary expression set against the changing political context of the 60s, 70s and 80s. He subsequently argues that contemporary Black Australian creative writers have already played a major role in articulating a sense of unity and defining Aboriginal identity.
(p. 1-16)
From Depression to War, Adam Shoemaker , 1989 single work criticism
This chapter examines the political context of the 1930s and 1940s to the end of World War II and this period's impact on writing representing Aboriginality. Shoemaker looks at the roles of the Australian Aborigines Progressive Association (1924-1927), the Euralian Association of Western Australia (1934), the 1937 Aboriginal petition sent to the King on behalf of the Australian Aborigines League and, the most important group of the era, William Ferguson's Aborigines Progressive Asscoiation (APA) formed in 1934. Shoemaker argues that World War II was a crucial catalyst for policy change for Aboriginal Australians.
(p. 17-38)
Popular Perceptions of an Unpopular People, 1929-1945, Adam Shoemaker , 1989 single work criticism
This chapter examines works written between 1929 and 1945 by non-Aboriginal authors representing Aboriginality. Works analysed in detail are Coonardoo (1929) by Katharine Susannah Prichard, Capricornia (1938) by Xavier Herbert, Lasseter's Last Ride: An Epic of Central Australia (1931) by Ion Idriess, The Passing of the Aborigines (1938) by Daisy Bates and Native Legends (1929) by David Unaipon. Shoemaker argues the following points: Firstly, that there is a tendency for academics to overemphasise the importance of works by Prichard and Herbert as indicators of a supposedly new and enlightened view. Secondly, that by highlighting such works as beacons of enlightenment, academic criticism has cast a shadow over the extremely popular works of historical fiction by Idriess. And thirdly, that a number of other popular works of literature written and published between 1929 and 1945, for example, Daisy Bates's The Passing of the Aborigines, still exerted some influence on Australian readers as late as the 1960s. Finally, Shoemaker's analysis concludes with David Unaipon, who published during this period, was almost totally ignored until the 1970s, and even now still deserves far more study than he has received.
(p. 39-62)
World War II and the Assimilation Era : A Self-Destructive Doctrine, Adam Shoemaker , 1989 single work criticism
This chapter examines the gap between policy and practice during the period 1945-1961. It emphasises the attempted assimilation of the 1950s by highlighting Aboriginal activity which, to a large extent, traces its origins to World War II.
(p. 63-77)
The Literary Perception, 1945-1961, Adam Shoemaker , 1989 single work criticism
This chapter briefly surveys the major socio-political developments in Aboriginal affairs between 1961 and 1988. Though this period was one of success, and witnessed a growing self-confidence among Aboriginal Australians, it was also one of frustrated expectations and hopes, particularly in relation to land rights. The era saw the initiative for protest activity in Aboriginal affairs move from white dominated bodies to co-operative organisations and then to groups controlled administratively and sometimes financially by Black Australians. Shoemaker argues that there is a tendency for white readers to evaluate Aboriginal works solely according to Western literary standards which is an unreasonable expectation. While it is illuminating to compare Black Australian writing with those of certain white Australian authors, this provides only a partial understanding of Aboriginal works. An understanding of Aboriginal literature is only gained from analysing Aboriginal writing in its own right and seeing it as a discrete body of Fourth World literature in which striking themes and concerns emerge. The work of white writers such as Judith Wright, Patrick White, Randolph Stow, and Donald Stuart are examined.
(p. 79-101)
Progress and Frustrated Expectations : The Era Since 1961, Adam Shoemaker , 1989 single work criticism

'This chapter surveys the major socio-political developments in Aboriginal affairs from 1961 to 1988. This was a period of rapid legislative change affecting many Indigenous Australians, and a time of escalating Aboriginal self-confi dence and achievements on many fronts.' (Publication abstract)

(p. 103-125)
Views of Australian History in Aboriginal Literature, Adam Shoemaker , 1989 single work criticism
In this chapter a number of Black Australian literary approaches to the past are examined: the usage of singular and venerable black narrative structures, the attempt to explore the lives of heroic black figures of the past and the revisionist view of Australian history which conveys, for the first time, an Aboriginal interpretation of past events. Black literary views of history are primarily concerned with an illustration of the lives of Aboriginal people, but it is unavoidable that an alternative assessment of Australian post-contact past should engage with white historical figures and 'myths' as well. Shoemaker aruges that an eagerness among Black writers to counterbalance the bias of previous interpretations of the continent's interracial history, sometimes runs the risk of over-compensating by positing equally biased and contentious versions of the past. The literary search for a viable Black history signifies an Aboriginal effort to establish racial facts and fictions at least equal in stature to those of white Australia. The works of Jack Davis, Robert Merritt, Colin Johnson, Nancy Cato and Robert Drewe are analysed.
(p. 127-158)
Sex and Violence in the Black Australian Novel, Adam Shoemaker , 1984 single work criticism
This chapter looks at five novels by three Aboriginal authors that deal with the themes of sexual and cultural violence in urban Aboriginal communities: Wacvie (1977) by Faith Bandler, Wild Cat Falling (1965), Long Live Sandawarra (1979) and Doctor Wooreddy's Perscription for Eduring the Ending of the World (1983) by Colin Johnson, and The Day of the Dog (1981) by Archie Weller. All of these novels directly, perceptively and disconcertingly hold a mirror up to European violence, sexual jealously, physical brutality and authoritarianism.
(p. 159-178)
The Poetry of Politics : Australian Aboriginal Verse, Adam Shoemaker , 1989 single work criticism
In this chapter the broad range of Aboriginal verse is examined to illustrate the diversity and talent of contemporary Black Australian poets. Shoemaker argues that any dismissal of Aboriginal poetry as simply propaganda is inaccurate and unfair. Aboriginal poetry ranges from the overtly political to celebrations of nature. The political stance of the writers is considered as well as the particular social conditions in which the writers live - and which they often address in their work. The works of Aboriginal poets Jack Davis, Kevin Gilbert, Colin Johnson, Lionel Fogarty and Aileen Corpus are examined. To emphasise the distinctive elements of writing produced by Aboriginal poets, Shoemaker provides a brief comparison to the work of selected white poets, Les Murray and Bruce Dawe. He also demonstrates the Fourth World dimension and increasingly oral predisposition of Australian Aboriginal verse by contrasting it with the poetry of contemporary Canadian Indian writers.
(p. 179-229)
Aboriginality and Black Australian Drama, Adam Shoemaker , 1989 single work criticism
Having examined the origins of Black drama in Chapter Six, in this chapter, Shoemaker explores the distinctive elements of writing produced by Aboriginal dramatists. The work of these writers is briefly contrasted to the work of selected White Australian playwrights in order to highlight the contribution of Black Australian dramatists to the Aboriginal movement, to the formulation of the concept of Aboriginality and to the enrichment of Australian literature as a whole. Important aspects of Aboriginality are explored such as endurance, pride, protests, poverty, sorrow, anger and humour. The distinctive Black Australian approach to humour is given particular attention. The works of Kevin Gilbert, Gerry Bostock, Jack Davis and Thomas Keneally are discussed.
(p. 231-264)
Conclusion : Black Words on White Pages, Adam Shoemaker , 1989 single work criticism
This study concludes that Black Australian writing and Aboriginal/White relations are so closely interrelated that the denigration of Aboriginal culture demeans the productions of that culture, while it also potentially threatens Australian interracial harmony. Shoemaker argues that much Aboriginal writing is overtly and unashamedly socio-political, that much of it examines Aboriginal/European conflict, and much is based upon an observation and analysis of actual events. While not all Aboriginal writers are activists, their work is inescapably socio-political, because it expresses a culture which has survived despite nearly two centuries of oppression, and because it has been consciously produced to express and investigate relationships with dominant White Australian society.
(p. 265-282)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Sexual Violation and the 'Amoral' Woman in Aboriginal Verse Amanda Rooks , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 26 no. 1 2012; (p. 49-54)
Finding Fault : Aborigines, Anthropologists, Popular Writers and Walkabout. Mitchell Rolls , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Cultural History , vol. 28 no. 2/3 2010; (p. 179-200)
'The popular middlebrow magazine Walkabout was published between 1934 and 1974. Its principle aim was to promote travel to and within Australia and to educate Australians about their continent. It aspired to be an Australian geographic magazine, and to this end it focussed on inland and remote Australia, and natural history. For this reason, and because it was published throughout a period, particularly in the early decades, when only those Aborigines living afar from populated regions were recognised as Aborigines, many of Walkabout's articles were about Aborigines or, more commonly, made mention of them. There are very few critiques of Walkabout, but those that do exist are critical of its portrayal of Aborigines. Notwithstanding that there are many reasons to find fault, it is possible to read this material in a more salutary light, even against the apparent intention of at least one of the contributors, Ernestine Hill. This article considers the work of a number of popular writers and two of the anthropologists who contributed to Walkabout, and finds reason to be less critical and more cautious in our assessment of their narrative representation of Aborigines than is generally allowed. The period of analysis is from 1934 to 1950.' (Editor's abstract)
Black Words, Canadian Ears: Adam Shoemaker and the Scene of Aboriginal Writing 1980-1984 J. J. Healy , 1992 single work review
— Appears in: World Literature Written in English , Spring vol. 32 no. 1 1992; (p. 107-116)

— Review of Black Words, White Page : Aboriginal Literature 1929-1988 Adam Shoemaker , 1989 single work criticism
Songliners Peter Stewart , 1991 single work review
— Appears in: Webber's , March no. 3 1991; (p. 84-90)

— Review of Black Words, White Page : Aboriginal Literature 1929-1988 Adam Shoemaker , 1989 single work criticism ; The Blackside: People are Legends and Other Poems Kevin Gilbert , 1990 selected work poetry ; Writing from the Fringe : A Study of Modern Aboriginal Literature Mudrooroo , 1990 single work criticism
Untitled Review Daniel R. Willbanks , 1990 single work review
— Appears in: World Literature Today , Spring vol. 64 no. 2 1990; (p. 361)

— Review of Black Words, White Page : Aboriginal Literature 1929-1988 Adam Shoemaker , 1989 single work criticism
Aboriginal Literature 1989 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Bookseller & Publisher , March 1989; (p. 50)

— Review of Black Words, White Page : Aboriginal Literature 1929-1988 Adam Shoemaker , 1989 single work criticism
Cries of Anger : Aboriginal Literature L. V. Kepert , 1989 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 25 March 1989; (p. 42)

— Review of Black Words, White Page : Aboriginal Literature 1929-1988 Adam Shoemaker , 1989 single work criticism ; Literature and the Aborigine in Australia 1770- 1975 J. J. Healy , 1978 single work criticism
Evaluating Aboriginal Writing Robert Darby , 1989 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 11 March 1989; (p. B2)

— Review of Black Words, White Page : Aboriginal Literature 1929-1988 Adam Shoemaker , 1989 single work criticism ; Literature and the Aborigine in Australia 1770- 1975 J. J. Healy , 1978 single work criticism
Hardback Briefs 1989 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 8 April 1989; (p. 8)

— Review of Black Words, White Page : Aboriginal Literature 1929-1988 Adam Shoemaker , 1989 single work criticism
Plumbing the Dreary Shallows Billy Marshall-Stoneking , 1989 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian Magazine , 20-21 May 1989; (p. 11)

— Review of Black Words, White Page : Aboriginal Literature 1929-1988 Adam Shoemaker , 1989 single work criticism
Finding Fault : Aborigines, Anthropologists, Popular Writers and Walkabout. Mitchell Rolls , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Cultural History , vol. 28 no. 2/3 2010; (p. 179-200)
'The popular middlebrow magazine Walkabout was published between 1934 and 1974. Its principle aim was to promote travel to and within Australia and to educate Australians about their continent. It aspired to be an Australian geographic magazine, and to this end it focussed on inland and remote Australia, and natural history. For this reason, and because it was published throughout a period, particularly in the early decades, when only those Aborigines living afar from populated regions were recognised as Aborigines, many of Walkabout's articles were about Aborigines or, more commonly, made mention of them. There are very few critiques of Walkabout, but those that do exist are critical of its portrayal of Aborigines. Notwithstanding that there are many reasons to find fault, it is possible to read this material in a more salutary light, even against the apparent intention of at least one of the contributors, Ernestine Hill. This article considers the work of a number of popular writers and two of the anthropologists who contributed to Walkabout, and finds reason to be less critical and more cautious in our assessment of their narrative representation of Aborigines than is generally allowed. The period of analysis is from 1934 to 1950.' (Editor's abstract)
Sexual Violation and the 'Amoral' Woman in Aboriginal Verse Amanda Rooks , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 26 no. 1 2012; (p. 49-54)
Shelf Life [14 July 1990] Peter Pierce , 1990 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Age , 14 July 1990; (p. 10)
Connections : Recent Criticism of Aboriginal Writing Sue Thomas , 1989 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meridian , May vol. 8 no. 1 1989; (p. 39-46)
Who Can Proclaim a Book's Gender? Robert Hefner , 1990 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 29 July 1990; (p. 23)
Last amended 19 Oct 2017 11:04:10
Newspapers:
    Powered by Trove
    X