From publisher's blurb: 'In Aboriginal and Maori literature, the circle and the spiral are the symbolic metaphors for a never-ending journey of discovery and rediscovery. The journey itself, with its indigenous perspectives and sense of orientation, is the most significant act of cultural recuperation. The present study outlines the fields of indigenous writing in Australia and New Zealand in the crucial period between the mid-1980s and the early 1990s - particularly eventful years in which postcolonial theaory attempted to "centre the margins" and indigenous writers were keen to escape the particular centering offered in seach of other positions more in tune with their creative sensibilities. Indigenous writing relinquished its narrative preference for social realism in favour of traversing old territory in new spiritual ways; roots converted to routes.' ... The Circle and the Spiral looks for 'locally and culturally specific tracks and traces that lead in other directions than those catalogued by postcolonial convention. This agenda is pursued by means of searching enquiries into the historical, anthropological, political and cultural determinants of the present state of Aboriginal and Maori writing (principally fiction).'
Includes the following chapters:
'In Sam Watson's first novel, The Kadaitcha Sung, the sacrosanct traditional concepts of 'Law' and `Business', firmly anchored in land and Aboriginal oratory, are given an additional contemporary meaning through print. It reaches from the realm of time immemorial directly into the political arena of a 1990s Australia or, in terms specific to Watson's narrative, from bora ring to city perimeter, from the sacred into the profane. There is an elegant twist inherent in this transition, however, because once sacred space makes its entry into profane place — the margin on which most Aboriginal people live today — its immense power to influence contemporary Aboriginal thinking is upgraded. The revisioning of the sacred, or, one might say, the re-adaptation of Law and Business to the public sphere of everyday life, effects a compelling re-politicization of the culture of Dreaming. ' (Introduction)