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y separately published work icon The Unknown Industrial Prisoner single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 1971... 1971 The Unknown Industrial Prisoner
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'What was Puroil? At Clearwater it was a sprawling refinery, an army of white shirts, a fleet of wagons, a number of apparently separate companies, dozens of monolithic departments protected from each other by an armour of functional difference and jealousy. On the refinery site it was two hundred and fifty shabby prisoners, a heavy overload of foremen, supervisors, plant controllers, shift controllers, up to the giddy height of section heads (popularly miscalled Suction Heads, a metaphor deriving from pumps) who were clerks for the technologists; project and process engineers and superintendents who were whipping-boys for the—whisper it!—the Old Man himself, the Manager, who was actually only a Branch Manager and a sort of bum-boy for Head Office in Victoria, which was a backward colonial outpost in the eyes of the London office, which was a junior partner in British-European Puroil its mighty self, which was the property of anonymous shareholders.

'On the shores of Botany Bay lies an oil refinery where workers are free to come and go—but they are also part of an unrelenting, alienating economy from which there is no escape. In the first of his three Miles Franklin Award-winning novels, originally published in 1971, David Ireland offers a fiercely brilliant comic portrait of Australia in the grip of a dehumanising labour system.' (Publication summary : Text Classics)

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Works about this Work

Modern-Day Lags Chained to the Job Peter Pierce , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 22-23 June 2013; (p. 20)
'Peter Pierce on a masterpiece of Australian proletarian literature.'
Ken Kesey, David Ireland and a Portrait of Australian Freedom Jessica Brooks , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Sydney Studies in English , vol. 37 no. 2011;
'David Ireland's 'The Unknown Industrial Prisoner' was an important novel of its day that has been somewhat forgotten in more recent years. It won the Miles Franklin award in 1971 and created some controversy amongst reviewers regarding its unconventional narrative technique, which had little, if any, Australian precedent. It did, however, have an American precedent in the works of the Beat generation. Foregrounding issues of freedom and individualism, Ireland's novel closely parallels Ken Kesey's 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' (1962), not only in its themes but also through its use of metaphors and character studies. Like Kesey's mental hospital, Ireland's Puroil refinery offers an example in microcosm of society's ills. Ireland's obvious use of 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' suggests that he found in Kesey's work a certain resonance with the Australian experience. Yet the differences between the two novels are more telling. This article explores the possibility that Ireland intentionally wrote an adaptation of Kesey's novel in order to highlight differences between American and Australian cultural attitudes towards freedom and individualism.' (Author's abstract)
'Like It Bloody Was' Noel Turnbull , 2010 single work correspondence
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , April no. 320 2010; (p. 4)
The Populist Imaginary in David Ireland's The Unknown Industrial Prisoner and The Chosen Ronald Blaber , 2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , no. 5 2006; (p. 58-71)

Blaber argues that 'in the shift from processes of state-nationalist identities to post-nationalist ones there emerges an opportunity for the re-figuration of a populist imaginary and an associated populist politics. By populist imaginary, I refer to a form of nostalgia, underwritten by processes of reminiscence and anecdote, which creates a sense of the past that imagines a social and political order that at once simplifies and "restores" a way of life based in community or collectivity in the face of the changing understanding of the relationship between the national and the global.'

Blaber concludes, 'the felt presence of the populist imaginary must be understood as indicative of a return to, and a new iteration of, a foundational moment, suggesting that the question of national or collective identity can never be totally settled, and that identity is always a pattern of recurrence.'

y separately published work icon The Quest for Postcolonial Utopia : A Comparative Introduction to the Utopian Novel in the New English Literatures Ralph Pordzik , New York (City) : Peter Lang , 2001 Z912335 2001 single work criticism A critical introduction to utopian and dystopian fiction written in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Africa, and India. It outlines the development of utopian writing over the last thirty years and analyses the relationship between postcolonial and utopian issues. Based on a comparative approach that takes into account the different traditions the texts are derived from, the book examines the function of utopian alternatives and dystopian anxieties in the writings of a wide range of well-known international authors such as Janet Frame, David Ireland, J.M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, Peter Carey, Rodney Hall, Buchi Emechta, Margaret Atwood, Glenda Adams, John Cranna, Suniti Namjoshi, Mike Nico, Ben Okri, Gerald Murnane, and Timothy Findley. Also includes brief discussion of works by other Australian writers.
Recent Fiction John McLaren , 1972 single work review
— Appears in: Overland , Autumn no. 50-51 1972; (p. 96-97)

— Review of The Unknown Industrial Prisoner David Ireland , 1971 single work novel ; A Dutiful Daughter Thomas Keneally , 1971 single work novel ; Jacob's Season John Hooker , 1971 single work novel ; A Cartload of Clay : A Novel George Johnston , 1971 single work novel
[Review] The Unknown Industrial Prisoner [and] Piper in the Market-place Brian Kiernan , 1971 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 20 November 1971; (p. 19)

— Review of The Unknown Industrial Prisoner David Ireland , 1971 single work novel ; Piper in the Market-Place Kenneth Cook , 1971 single work novel
[Review] The Unknown Industrial Prisoner John Hepworth , 1971 single work review
— Appears in: Review , 18-24 December 1971; (p. 304)

— Review of The Unknown Industrial Prisoner David Ireland , 1971 single work novel
[Review] The Unknown Industrial Prisoner A. Mitchell , 1971 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 13 November 1971; (p. 18)

— Review of The Unknown Industrial Prisoner David Ireland , 1971 single work novel
[Review] The Unknown Industrial Prisoner 1971 single work review
— Appears in: National Times , 8-13 November 1971; (p. 23)

— Review of The Unknown Industrial Prisoner David Ireland , 1971 single work novel
David Ireland's Novels : Australia, Community and the 'Illegality' of Fiction Ken Gelder , 1991 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Narrative Technique , Winter vol. 21 no. 1 1991; (p. 32-42)

— Appears in: Atomic Fiction: The Novels of David Ireland 1993; (p. 14-27)
The Populist Imaginary in David Ireland's The Unknown Industrial Prisoner and The Chosen Ronald Blaber , 2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , no. 5 2006; (p. 58-71)

Blaber argues that 'in the shift from processes of state-nationalist identities to post-nationalist ones there emerges an opportunity for the re-figuration of a populist imaginary and an associated populist politics. By populist imaginary, I refer to a form of nostalgia, underwritten by processes of reminiscence and anecdote, which creates a sense of the past that imagines a social and political order that at once simplifies and "restores" a way of life based in community or collectivity in the face of the changing understanding of the relationship between the national and the global.'

Blaber concludes, 'the felt presence of the populist imaginary must be understood as indicative of a return to, and a new iteration of, a foundational moment, suggesting that the question of national or collective identity can never be totally settled, and that identity is always a pattern of recurrence.'

Belinda Giese, an Interview with David Ireland : 26 August 1985 Belinda Giese (interviewer), 1988 single work interview
— Appears in: Notes & Furphies , April no. 20 1988; (p. 15)
Politics of Self-Hatred: The Fiction of David Ireland Joan Kirkby , 1997 single work criticism
— Appears in: Literature and Psychiatry Conference : Collected Papers 1997; (p. 47-56)
Butterflies Flew Free : David Ireland's Australia Colin John Partridge , 1984 single work criticism
— Appears in: True North/Down Under , no. 2 1984; (p. 75-86)
Last amended 17 Jun 2014 16:34:36
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