'‘Imagined Sound’ is a unique cartography of the artistic, historical and political forces that have informed the post-World War II representation of Australian landscapes. It is the first book to formulate the unique methodology of ‘imagined sound’, a new way to read and listen to literature and music that moves beyond the dominance of the visual, the colonial mode of knowing, controlling and imagining Australian space. Emphasising sound and listening, this approach draws out and re-examines the key narratives that shape and are shaped by Australian landscapes and histories, stories of first contact, frontier violence, the explorer journey, the convict experience, non-Indigenous belonging, Pacific identity and contemporary Indigenous Dreaming. ‘Imagined Sound’ offers a compelling analysis of how these narratives are reharmonised in key works of literature and music.
'To listen to and read imagined sound is to examine how works of literature and music evoke and critique landscapes and histories using sound. It is imagined sound because it is created by descriptive language and imaginative thought, and is as such an extension of the range of heard sound. The concept is inspired by Benedict Anderson’s key study of nationalism, ‘Imagined Communities’ (1983). Discussing official (and unofficial) national anthems, Anderson argues the imagined sound of these songs connects us all. This conception of sound operates in two ways: it places the listener within ‘the nation’ and it bypasses the problem of both space and time, enabling listeners from across a vast space to, simultaneously, become one. Following Anderson, imagined sound emphasises the importance of the imagination in the formation of landscapes and communities, and in the telling and retelling of histories.
'’Imagined Sound’ encounters the different forms and tonalities of imagined sound – the soundscape, refrain, song, lyric, scream, voice and noise ¬– in novels, poems, art music, folk, rock, jazz and a film clip. To listen to these imagined sounds is to encounter the diverse ways that writers and musicians have reimagined and remapped Australian colonial/postcolonial histories, landscapes and mythologies. Imagined sound links the past to the present, enabling colonial landscapes and traumas to haunt the postcolonial; it carries and expresses highly personal and interior experiences and emotions; and it links people to the landscapes they inhabit and to the narratives and myths that give place meaning. As a reading and listening practice imagined sound pursues the unresolved conflicts that echo across the haunted soundscapes connecting the colonial past to the postcolonial present. The seeds of regeneration also bear fruit as writers and musicians imagine the future. ‘Imagined Sound’ fuses the spirit of close reading common to literary studies and the score analysis familiar to musicology with ideas from sound studies, philosophy, Island studies and postcolonial studies.' (Publication summary)
'While Canadian scholar Lisa M Fiander argues that fairy tales are ‘everywhere’ in Australian fiction, this paper questions that assertion. It considers what it means for a fairy tale to be ‘in’ a work of contemporary fiction, and posits a classificatory system based on the vocabulary of contemporary music scholarship where a distinction is made between intertextuality that is stylistic and that which is strategic. Stylistic intertextuality is the adoption of features of a style or genre without reference to specific examples, while strategic intertexuality references specific prior works.
'Two distinct approaches to strategic fairy-tale revision have emerged in Australian writing in recent decades. One approach, exemplified in works by writers including Kate Forsyth, Margo Lanagan and Juliet Marillier, leans towards the retelling of European fairy tales. Examples include Forsyth’s The Beast’s garden (‘Beauty and the Beast’), Lanagan’s Tender morsels (‘Snow White and Rose Red’) and Marillier’s short story ‘By bone-light’ (‘Vasilisa the Beautiful’). The other, more fractured, approach is exemplified in works by writers including Carmel Bird and Murray Bail, which do not retell fairy tales but instead echo them and allude to them.
'This paper proposes that recent Australian works that retell fairy tales are less likely to be set in a recognisably Australian context than are works which take a more fractured approach to fairy tale. It also explores the notion that, presently, transporting European fairy tales, whole, into an Australian setting, seems to be a troubling proposition for writers in a post-colonial settler society that is highly sensitised to, but still largely in denial about, its colonial past.' (Publication abstract)
'This article encounters two Tasmanian novels, Richard Flanagan’s Death of a River Guide (1994) and Carmel Bird’s Cape Grimm (2004). The novels each contain two soundscapes: one detailing the hidden histories of violence and genocide at the frontier meeting of Aboriginal people and colonialists in the 1820s, and a second, set in a contemporary timeframe, that echoes these past traumas within the lives of characters facing extinction of their own. Deploying a close listening approach in the analysis of these soundscapes, the essay charts the space of the island in the novels, arguing that the resonance between the soundscapes past and present constitutes a transhistorical continuum of sound that links the colonial to the present. While there are both similarities and differences between the soundscapes in Flanagan and Bird, in the novels the sonic continuum reconstructs colonial history and remaps the space of the island. The discussion is positioned in relation to discourses of sound in Australian gothic literature, haunting, and theories of space.' (Publication summary)