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Issue Details: First known date: 2010... 2010 Inheriting the Past : Peter Corris's 'The Journal of Fletcher Christian' and Peter Carey's 'True History of the Kelly Gang'
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Peter Carey's True History of the Kelly Gang and Peter Corris's The Journal of Fletcher Christian are historical novels, which emerge from quite different Australian cultural fields (Literature and popular fiction), but reading them alongside each other reveals fundamental similarities in their politics of race, gender and sexuality. We argue that both novels use the symbolism of the male, colonizing body to grant legitimacy to their postcolonial settler audience. In both cases, this legitimacy takes the form of a fragment of 'true and secret' history which oppposes authorized accounts of famous historical lives and events (Australia's most famous bushranger, the British Empire's most famous mutineer). We focus, in particular, on the extent to which both novels imagine the voices of Kelly and Christian by exploiting the richly metaphorical relationship between the body as flesh and the body as text. [Authors' abstract, p. 189]


  • Subject concept 'Ventriloquism' has been assigned because of the authors' repeated use of the term with regard to the creation of voice in the novels. E.g. 'Both novelists emerge as the natural ventriloquists for their protagonists' (p. 192); and 'this passage underlines the impossibility of True History's own act of historical ventriloquism - its attempt to produce a speaking corpse' (p. 199).

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon The Journal of Commonwealth Literature vol. 45 no. 2 2010 Z1702663 2010 periodical issue 'Along with various other strands in contemporary cultural studies, postcolonial commentary has done much to shift attention away from unitary readings of texts, particularly by placing as much emphasis on the where as on the when and the how of writing and other cultural formations. That where has a good deal to do with the locations – personal, commercial, linguistic and geographical among them – of a text’s production, but it also involves the complex of factors that come into play in the reading of texts, which invariably generates new meanings, even on the part of “innocent” readers, who willy-nilly find themselves engaging in acts of interpretation, as they read across places, periods,regions and languages, all of which are themselves in flux.' (John Thieme, Editorial introduction) 2010 pg. 189-206
Last amended 25 Jun 2010 08:45:14
189-206 Inheriting the Past : Peter Corris's 'The Journal of Fletcher Christian' and Peter Carey's 'True History of the Kelly Gang'small AustLit logo The Journal of Commonwealth Literature