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y separately published work icon JASAL periodical issue   peer reviewed assertion
Alternative title: Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature; Spectres, Screens, Shadows, Mirrors
Note: Guest editors.
Issue Details: First known date: 2007... Special Issue 2007 of JASAL est. 2002 JASAL
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  • 'The articles in this collection have been sourced from the July 2006 Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL) conference, Spectres, Screens, Shadows, Mirrors, held at the University of Western Australia (UWA).' (Editors' note)


* Contents derived from the 2007 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Haunted Identities and the Possible Futures of 'Aust. Lit.', Lyn McCredden , single work criticism

McCredden poses a series of questions: 'Is Australian identity always and peculiarly constituted by dreams of elsewhere? In less romantic terms, are all forms of identity--individual, communal, national--riven, needing to be understood always in relation to what they are not?' Broadly answering 'yes' she asks further: 'what effects does this rivenness of subjectivity, in its multiple forms, produce in Australia and in particular in relation to that institution of "Aust. Lit."?'

In relation to Australia's colonial and post-colonial cultures, McCredden asks: 'what ghosting or scape-goating ... haunts and even tears apart Australian models of identity-making, in both the creative and critical wings of Aust. Lit. What can or should a national literature be in this haunted context? Finally, I want to ask how these hauntings, this rivenness might be negotiated for the future of any possible national literary cultures.'

(p. 12-24)
Note: Includes list of works cited.
Unpacking Castro's Library, or Detours and Return in 'The Garden Book', Bernadette Brennan , single work criticism
Brennan argues that while 'Castro's writing has always engaged obliquely with ethical concerns' there is a sense through the characters and dialogue of The Garden Book 'that the narrative, while remaining true to more abstract questions of writing, memory, desire and death, wants us to think deeply and urgently about the consequences of the politics of fear currently operating in Australia'.
(p. 25-36)
Note: Includes notes and a list of works cited.
Coetzee's Haunting of Australian Literature, Maria Takolander , single work criticism
Takolander argues that: 'Literary texts, or arguably any texts -- including genre fiction, television soaps and blockbuster films -- in making possible an experience of haunting and thus of transformation occupy an ethical space'. She discusses ways in which J. M. Coetzee's novels Elizabeth Costello and Slow Man 'manifest a deep engagement with the transformative and ethical potentialities of literature'.
(p. 37-51)
Note: Includes list of works cited.
'Blood and Land and Ghosts' : Haunting Words in Christos Tsiolkas's Dead Europe, Catherine Padmore , single work criticism

Catherine Padmore's article seeks to understand the 'spectral effect' of Dead Europe. She explores 'two (out of many possible) main ideas, both of which involve a form of literary possession. These are:
1. The strategic use of the ghost story form to produce uncanny effects;
2. The lingering and difficult question of whether or not this novel is anti-Semitic.' (p.53)

Padmore concludes: 'Dead Europe can disturb readers on a number of levels. It uses traditional ghost story techniques and encourages reader identification with a confronting character to create a compelling literary possession not simply between characters within the book but between book and reader. In this way it provokes, but does not answer, multiple questions. Lodged in me, the novel's ghosts continue to provoke, unsettle and disturb, long after reading has finished.' (p.62)

(p. 52-64)
Note: Includes list of works cited.
Circling with Ghosts: The Search for Redemption, Margaret Merrilees , single work criticism
'This article explores the ways in which Michael Meehan's The Salt of Broken Tears (referred to hereafter as Salt) might be read as an allegorical quest for redemption. I refer also to Patrick White's Voss, to the extent that it provides an obvious antecedent, and an ironic archetype of the "explorer" tale. Voss provides a useful juxtaposition to Salt, in that they both represent quests, and futile quests at that. Both are historical novels, using a distanced past to illuminate a particular (different) present. Both novels illustrate an Australian masculinity haunted by a lost sense of "rightness": not just of "right-doing", but also of fitness, comprehensibility, belonging. The masculine is presented as both mirrored and haunted by the feminine. There are two key elements in the construction of this masculinity: violence, and deprivation or "lack". I am interested in how these elements drive the masculine quest, and how this masculine quest mirrors the broader Australian longing for redemption, or perhaps absolution.' (p.65)
(p. 65-76)
Note: Includes list of works cited.
'Us Circling Round and Round' : The Track of Narrative and the Ghosts of Lost Children in Such is Life, Susan K. Martin , single work criticism
Martin argues that: 'Central to any understanding of the [Such Is Life] narrative is the sequence of lost child stories told in chapter five. These stories not only relate multi-level tales of tracking lost children, but also trace a plot and follow a narrative trail that emphasises the method of reading and hearing; of how meaning is made and recognised and delivered; of reader and writer following the same trail. The three tales rehearse the frustrations and failures of both narrative and tracking. They play with the possible sequences of romantic and realist narrative, and something else. They also function as a kind of map of the novel as a whole.' (p.79)
(p. 77-93)
Note: Includes notes and list of works cited.
National Hauntings: The Architecture of Australian Ghost Stories, David Crouch , single work criticism

Echoing Judith Wright, David Crouch identifies two twisted strands in the Australian postcolonial condition - a love of the land and an invader's guilt. This 'non-indigenous desire to belong to a stolen land' gives the Australian ghost story 'a particular resonance ... In this country the presence of ghosts can be read as traces of historical traumas, fears which are often exposed in expressions of apprehensive (un)settlement.' Crouch aims to draw out some reflections on this perturbance in the Australian consciousness 'by reading Hume Nisbet's mobilisation of a phantasmic topology in his story "The Haunted Station" alongside the unsettling ghosts of Tim Winton's Cloudstreet.

Crouch concludes, in part, that both stories 'seem concerned with the continuity and legitimacy of settlement'. The haunted houses in both tales 'navigate the tensions surrounding the occupation of place in Australia' and both are 'undercut by the awareness of displaced indigenous habitation and suggest a moral disturbance in the non-indigenous Australian relationship with place'. It is conceivable, Crouch argues, that 'the ghost story itself is a way of silencing an indigenous presence within a discursive structure that asserts the legitimacy of non-indigenous occupation.'

(p. 94-105)
Note: Includes notes and list of works cited.
Exploring the Shadow of Your Shadow, Lachlan Brown , single work criticism

Lachlan Brown's article 'focuses on three ways of reading Hart's poetry using three "shadows" that appear to hang over some of his early work. Firstly the representational shadow, secondly the shadow of death and thirdly a kind of theological shadow, which speaks some interesting things onto the other two shadows.' (p.106) Brown also identifies 'three areas where Hart's Catholic faith may intersect' with poetic and philosophical issues to which Brown draws attention.

(p. 106-116)
Note: Includes list of works cited.
Ancestral Echoes : Spectres of the Past in Judith Wright's Poetry, Sue King-Smith , single work criticism

Sue King-Smith says: 'There are three main spectres in Wright's poetry that this article addresses. The first relates to the loss and separation Wright experienced when she became aware of the history of the land she had felt a profound sense of identification with since early childhood ... The second spectre relates to the traces of Aboriginal massacres and dispossessions. And the third is the spectre of the indigenous landscape that existed prior to British occupation, with a substantial number of indigenous species of flora and fauna now extinct.

'This article will argue that these spectres are intimately linked in Wright's writing and that her poetic and private relationships with the Australian landscape are constantly mediated by the need to acknowledge these ghosts.' (pp.117-118)

(p. 117-129)
Note: Includes notes and list of works cited.
Spectral Colonisation in John Scott's Warra Warra, David Mesher , single work criticism
David Mesher posits the view: 'Though John Scott's metaphor of colonisation in Warra Warra necessarily comes up short in its historical parallels, his novel's spectrum analysis of Australia's conception of itself and of its present relation to its colonial past strikingly coexists with Scott's nostalgic indulgence in his own British roots'. (pp.130-131)
(p. 130-139)
Note: Includes list of works cited.
The Mirror of Whiteness: Blackface in Charles Chauvel's Jedda, Ben Miller , single work criticism
'This article posits that Chauvel's early experience in and with "blackface" was a significant influence for his own films ... This article recounts a history of blackface performances, as well as ways of reading blackface, to fill some critical gaps in an iconic Australian film - Charles Chauvel's Jedda (1955). My reading of Jedda will turn the film back onto itself to reflect not just Chauvel, but also a long history of racial representation, spanning many continents and over 100 years, which was always radical and racist, benevolent and violent. When Chauvel wore and directed blackface he was, perhaps quite unconsciously, reiterating racial fictions that had justified violent colonialism and slavery since the eighteenth century. To understand this, Chauvel's work must be read within a history of blackface.' (p.140-41)
(p. 140-156)
Note: Includes list of works cited.
Some Whites Are Whiter Than Others: The Whitefella Skin Politics of Xavier Herbert and Cecil Cook, Fiona Probyn , single work criticism
Fiona Probyn-Rapsey investigates reports that Dr Cecil Cook, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Protector of Aborigines from 1927 to 1939 in the Northern Territory, was an albino. Her research leads her to conclude 'that Cook's "albinism" is possibly a fiction of Herbert's or it is an association built upon an image of extreme or excessive whiteness that inhabits Herbert's fiction, politics and letters. While the attribution of albinism to Cook's body is, I believe, a misreading, it is also instructive and revealing, because it inadvertently capitalises on (or makes literal or corporeal) Herbert's interests in securing Australia for a certain kind of whiteness - one that did not lack "colour', by which is meant, more accurately, indigeneity.
(p. 157-173)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Untitled Georgina Arnott , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , April no. 300 2008; (p. 62)

— Review of JASAL no. Special Issue 2007 periodical issue
Untitled Georgina Arnott , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , April no. 300 2008; (p. 62)

— Review of JASAL no. Special Issue 2007 periodical issue
Last amended 9 Aug 2010 11:01:05