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Issue Details: First known date: 2006... 2006 Writing Never Arrives Naked : Early Aboriginal Cultures of Writing in Australia
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'In Writing Never Arrives Naked, Penny van Toorn engages our minds and hearts. In this academically innovative book she reveals the resourceful and often poignant ways that Indigenous Australians involved themselves in the colonisers' paper culture. The first Aboriginal readers were children stolen from the clans around Sydney Harbour. The first Aboriginal author was Bennelong – a stolen adult. From the early years of colonisation, Aboriginal people used written texts to negotiate a changing world, to challenge their oppressors, protect country and kin, and occasionally for economic gain. Van Toorn argues that Aboriginal people were curious about books and papers, and in time began to integrate letters of the alphabet into their graphic traditions. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Aboriginal people played key roles in translating the Bible, and made their political views known in community and regional newspapers. They also sent numerous letters and petitions to political figures, including Queen Victoria. Penny van Toorn challenges the established notion that the colonists' paper culture superseded Indigenous oral cultures. She argues that Indigenous communities developed their own cultures of reading and writing, which involved a complex interplay between their own social protocols and the practices of literacy introduced by the British. Many distinctive features of Aboriginal writing today were shaped by the cultural, socio-political and institutional conditions in which Aboriginal people were living in colonial times.' (Source: Publisher's website)

Notes

  • Chapters in this book:

    Introduction: Sites of writing

    1: Encountering the alphabet

    2: Sky gods and stolen children

    3: Bennelong's letter

    4: Borderlands of Aboriginal writing

    5: Textual battlegrounds in Van Diemen's Land

    6: Literacy, land and power: the Coranderrk petitions

    7: Hidden transcripts at Lake Condah Mission Station

    8:Early writings by Aboriginal women

    9: Book by any other name?

    Conclusion: Past is not another country

  • Other formats: Also e-book.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Canberra, Australian Capital Territory,: Aboriginal Studies Press , 2006 .
      image of person or book cover 314814737867822029.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: ix, 270p.p.
      Description: illus., facsims, ports
      Note/s:
      • Includes notes and index.
      ISBN: 085575544X, 9780855756932

Works about this Work

Incandescent to Apocalyptic: Impressions from QPF Stephen Wright , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , August 2018;

'In a scintillating talk organised by Express Media (and available on YouTube), the Dharug/Bundjalung poet Evelyn Araluen speaks of the production of literature as historically being a dangerous place for Aboriginal people. I heard her say this around the time I was reading Aileen Moreton-Robinson’s The White Possessive, Penny van Toorn’s Writing Always [sic] Arrives Naked and Gomeroi writer Alison Whittaker’s beautiful Lemons in the Chicken Wire. Araluen’s statement occupied my thinking for some months, and not just because I think it’s true. The essential aspect of resisting privilege, which white, middle-aged men like myself have been given in shedloads for free, is that the only way to address it is to continually have humbling experiences. And as we are unlikely to get such things from other white men – humiliation not being the same as being humbled – if we are not seeking out writers like Whittaker, Araluen or Moreton-Robinson, we’re making ourselves even more useless and obstructive than we already are.'  (Introduction)

Reading the Tracker : The Antinomies of Aboriginal Ventriloquism Jonathan Dunk , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 17 no. 1 2017;

'This paper traverses an array of theories and disciplines bearing on the representation and interpretation of Aboriginal people within the narratives of colonial Modernity and the institutions of Western scholarship descended from these narratives. While these discourses occupy contiguous spaces, their fault-lines articulate ongoing contradictions within Australian cultural discourse, and between that discourse and its material conditions. The rise of Aboriginal Literature, as such, and of global Indigenous Studies, has further illuminated the inability of classical textual analysis to describe certain forms of difference. This deficiency was demonstrated by the post-structural turn, but not, it seems, substantively understood or implemented, and present conditions demand a more urgent reconfiguration of the assumed relationships between writing, interpretation and culture.' (Introduction)

Relocating Literary Sensibility : Colonial Australian Print Culture in the Digital Age Nicholas Birns , Nicole Moore , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Teaching Australian and New Zealand Literature 2016; (p. 15-28)

'The beginnings of European settlement in Australia coincided with the consolidation of print culture in Western Europe. It was a chronicled invasion, a settling of posited imperial space both preempted and witnessed in the pages of northern hemisphere periodicals. Expansive print cultures sustained the careers of figures such as Samuel Johnson and Retif de la Bretonne, who newly made their living publishing their work, and generated political documents such as the United States Declaration of Independence and Constitution, meant to reach a worldwide audience through print. This coincidence is significant not only because of the large and varied print record of colonization itself made possible by the new technology (Bird 23). First Fleet accounts, such as Deputy Judge Advocate and Lieutenant Governor David Collins's 1798 journal of exploration and settlement, were published in a European metropolitan context in which colonial writings were much in demand, representing as they did the fruits of what may be termed Enlightenment globalization. European mapping, exploration, trade, and imperial control extended over many corners of the globe. Expanding understanding of continuing Indigenous histories of occupation, travel, and exchange witnesses this too. ' (Introduction)
 

Not so Easy Kim Scott , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Griffith Review , no. 47 2015; (p. 200-214)

'A young man - scarcely more than a boy - stands on a rock beside the deep sea. A whale surfaces next to him, almost within reach. I can't say if the boy knows the whale, but he knows of the whale: all his life he's watched families of them travel along this coast. Recently, he learned the words of one such journey.' (Publication abstract)

Writing Forward, Writing Back, Writing Black—Working Process and Work-in-Progress Gus Worby , Simone Tur , Faye Rosas Blanch , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 14 no. 3 2014;
'This is a paper about creative acts of collaboration—about building and crossing bridges and 'circles of connection and belonging. It considers writing forward, back and Black first as process and then as work-in-progress in the everyday practice of Indigenous education. ' (Authors introduction)
Off the Shelf Lorien Kaye , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 26 August 2006; (p. 28)

— Review of Writing Never Arrives Naked : Early Aboriginal Cultures of Writing in Australia Penny Van Toorn , 2006 single work criticism
Untitled Lisa Slater , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 66 no. 3 2006; (p. 217-222)

— Review of Writing Never Arrives Naked : Early Aboriginal Cultures of Writing in Australia Penny Van Toorn , 2006 single work criticism
The Pointed Review Larissa Behrendt , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: National Indigenous Times , 8 February vol. 6 no. 122 2007; (p. 32)

— Review of Writing Never Arrives Naked : Early Aboriginal Cultures of Writing in Australia Penny Van Toorn , 2006 single work criticism ; Contemporary Indigenous Plays 2007 anthology drama ; Darby : One Hundred Years of Life in a Changing Culture Liam Campbell , Darby Jampijinpa Ross , 2006 single work life story ; No Fixed Address : Nomads and the Fate of the Planet Robyn Davidson , 2006 single work essay
Untitled Bruce Moore , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 7 no. 2007; (p. 126-129)

— Review of Writing Never Arrives Naked : Early Aboriginal Cultures of Writing in Australia Penny Van Toorn , 2006 single work criticism
Untitled Ian Henderson , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , December vol. 33 no. 4 2009; (p. 498-499)

— Review of Writing Never Arrives Naked : Early Aboriginal Cultures of Writing in Australia Penny Van Toorn , 2006 single work criticism
Translating Histories : Australian Aboriginal Narratives, History and Literature Ann McGrath , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Southern Hemisphere Review , vol. 24 no. 2008; (p. 34-47)
The Time of Biopolitics in the Settler Colony Russell West-Pavlov , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , June vol. 26 no. 2 2011; (p. 1-19) Imaginary Antipodes : Essays on Contemporary Australian Literature and Culture 2011; (p. 51-68)

'Kim Scott's description of the Moore River Native Settlement, also known as Mogumber, in his 1999 novel Benang, suggests implicit analogies with the mid-century concentration camps of the Holocaust. The Indigenous detainees are transported there in stock cars, they are welcomed by uniformed overseers armed with whips, they are housed in barracks with barred windows, and a punishment regime of solitary confinement and ritual humiliation operates as a means of coercion (89-94, 99-102). Elsewhere in the novel, Scott leaves us in no doubt about the force of these associations: "' They had some good ideas, those Nazis," Earn said, "but they went a bit far"' (Benang 154). The analogy between twentieth-century government control of the lives of Australian Indigenous people and biopolitics of Nazism has not gone unnoticed in other quarters. Elizabeth Povinelli describes the equation, made by the Royal Commission's Bringing Them Home report in 1994, of a century of child removal practices with cultural genocide, as 'an analogy made more compelling by the age of the Aboriginal applicants, many of whom had been taken in the early 1940s'. The impact of that equation was that 'Australians looked at themselves in a ghastly historical mirror and imagined their own Nuremberg. Would fascism be the final metaphor of Australian settler modernity?' (38).' (Author's introduction, p. 1)

Writing Forward, Writing Back, Writing Black—Working Process and Work-in-Progress Gus Worby , Simone Tur , Faye Rosas Blanch , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 14 no. 3 2014;
'This is a paper about creative acts of collaboration—about building and crossing bridges and 'circles of connection and belonging. It considers writing forward, back and Black first as process and then as work-in-progress in the everyday practice of Indigenous education. ' (Authors introduction)
Not so Easy Kim Scott , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Griffith Review , no. 47 2015; (p. 200-214)

'A young man - scarcely more than a boy - stands on a rock beside the deep sea. A whale surfaces next to him, almost within reach. I can't say if the boy knows the whale, but he knows of the whale: all his life he's watched families of them travel along this coast. Recently, he learned the words of one such journey.' (Publication abstract)

Relocating Literary Sensibility : Colonial Australian Print Culture in the Digital Age Nicholas Birns , Nicole Moore , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Teaching Australian and New Zealand Literature 2016; (p. 15-28)

'The beginnings of European settlement in Australia coincided with the consolidation of print culture in Western Europe. It was a chronicled invasion, a settling of posited imperial space both preempted and witnessed in the pages of northern hemisphere periodicals. Expansive print cultures sustained the careers of figures such as Samuel Johnson and Retif de la Bretonne, who newly made their living publishing their work, and generated political documents such as the United States Declaration of Independence and Constitution, meant to reach a worldwide audience through print. This coincidence is significant not only because of the large and varied print record of colonization itself made possible by the new technology (Bird 23). First Fleet accounts, such as Deputy Judge Advocate and Lieutenant Governor David Collins's 1798 journal of exploration and settlement, were published in a European metropolitan context in which colonial writings were much in demand, representing as they did the fruits of what may be termed Enlightenment globalization. European mapping, exploration, trade, and imperial control extended over many corners of the globe. Expanding understanding of continuing Indigenous histories of occupation, travel, and exchange witnesses this too. ' (Introduction)
 

Last amended 31 May 2017 17:46:41
Subjects:
  • Coranderrk Mission, Healesville area, Yea - Eildon - Warburton area, Melbourne Outer North, Melbourne, Victoria,
  • Van Diemen's Land (1803-1856), Tasmania,
  • Lake Condah Mission Station (1867 - 1919), Heywood, Portland area, Western District, Victoria,
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