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Issue Details: First known date: 2010... 2010 Rewriting History : Peter Carey's Fictional Biography of Australia
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Peter Carey is one of the most richly awarded and critically acclaimed novelists of the present day. Most of his fictions relate to questions of Australian history and identity. Rewriting History argues that taken together Carey's novels make up a fictional biography of Australia. The reading proposed here considers both key events in the life of the subject of Carey's biography (such as the exploration of the interior of the continent, the dispossession of the Aborigines, the convict experience, the process of Australia's coming of age as a postcolonial country) as well as its identity.

Rewriting History demonstrates how Carey exposes the lies and deceptions that make up the traditional representations of Australian history and supplants them with a new national story - one that because of its fictional status is not bound to the rigidities of traditional historical discourse. At a time of momentous cultural change, when Australia is being transformed from a "New Britannia in another world" to a nation not merely in, but actually of the Asia-Pacific region, Carey's fiction, this book argues, calls for the construction of a postcolonial national identity that acknowledges the wrongs of the past and gives Australians a sense of cultural orientation between their British past and their multicultural present. Source: www.rodopi.nl/ (Sighted 27/07/2010).

Notes

  • Epigraph: An Stelle des Historischen - die mythenbildende Kraft. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Contents

* Contents derived from the Amsterdam,
c
Netherlands,
c
Western Europe, Europe,
:
Rodopi , 2010 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Rewriting History : Theoretical Premises, Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism

'What Peter Carey once said in an interview with regard to his method in Oscar and Lucinda holds true for all of the author's novels under scrutiny in this study. From Bliss to My Life as a Fake - the reader finds in Carey's writings a version of the Australian experience that is decidedly different from the reconstrustionist account that traditional history books used to offer. Carey's fictional biography of his country bears two diametrically opposed signature traits. It conforms with Mark Twain's oft-quoted assessment of the Australian experience, used by Carey as an epigraph to Illywhacker: 'Australian history is almost always picturesque...It does not read like history, but like the most beautiful lies.' At the same time, there is a distinct feeling of authenticity, of dealing with empirically analysable data, evidence from the past that is presented to the reader through a seemingly objective narrating agency.' (p. 17)

(p. 17-28)
After the Grand Narratives : From History to Mythistory, Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism
‘Peter Carey’s engagement with myth is complex. It applies to h is writings in several of its meanings and is, unsurprisingly, one of the most oft-mentioned critical concepts in Carey criticism. There is, in fact, hardly an essay or a review article that fails to mention the word ‘myth’ or one of its lexical derivatives.’ (p. 39)
(p. 31-43)
Strategies of an Illywhacker (I) : Replacing the Truth-Paradigm with a "Weaseling Kind of "Truth"', Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism
'In Peter Carey's novels,...postmodern resistances against essentialism culminate in the figure of the confidence trickster. Such deceitful narrator figures are ideally suited for the task of unmaking history and for testing the boundaries between fact and fiction, reality and illusion, history and story. The role of lies and the creative potential of unreliable narration has intrigued Carey from the late 1970s on, when he first came across a quote from Mark Twain's travelogue More Tramps Abroad (1897.)...'(p. 45)
(p. 45-57)
Strategies of an Illywhacker (II) : Transcending Historical Reality, Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism
'Over the past twenty years Peter Carey has made it sufficiently clear that for lack of a fail-safe way of determining the one true history attempts at representing a past reality must necessarily falter or end in a philosophical impasse. Realism as a literary device has been a constant in Carey's writings, though. As a mode of narration, it simulates the truth, or at least creates a semblance of truth and probability and suggests to the reader that the narrated events could actually have happened this way in the extratextual world.' (p. 59)
(p. 59-82)
Strategies of an Illywhacker (III) : Telling History as Story, Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism
‘Original storytelling is one of the marker traits of Peter Carey’s fictions: it is this characteristic that explains why there is no such thing as a typical Carey novel, only certain features and concerns which recur throughout his fictions.’ (p 84)
(p. 83-104)
Dissecting the Lies of Terra Nullius : The Nightmare of Aboriginal History, Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism
'Most of Peter Carey’s fiction is highly political. His writings are explorations of key issues in Australian politics, ranging from cultural issues to the intricacies of foreign affairs. It is not least because of their strong political appeal that all of his novels can be read as postcolonial fictions. In interviews and in his actual political engagement, the author has made it very clear that he wants to use his position as one of the spokespersons of the liberal left to encourage a redefinition of accepted notions of Australianness, past and present.' (p 107)
(p. 107-140)
Deconstructing Leichhardt : Peter Carey and the Explorer Myth, Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism
‘In the Carey novel exploration and especially the journal function as metonyms for the author’s cultural criticism. The procedures of Carey’s exploration party and the attitudes and opinions of its members are very revealing and allow the reader to draw conclusions as to the consciousness of colonial society in general.’ (p. 141)
(p. 141-150)
'Decolonizing the Mind' (I) : Colonial Australia, Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism
'All of Peter Carey's novels as well as many of the short stories, I shall argue, engage in a decolonizing programme. If one were to read all of Carey's books in one sitting, one of the mandates of postcolonialism, namely to 'decolonize the mind' (phrase coined by Ngugi wa Thiont'o), would emerge as one of the writer's primary concerns...The stories Carey tells provide evidence of three successive generations of colonial overlords in Australia: the British Empire in colonial times; the United states, which took over cultural and economic overlordship after the British Empire collapsed; and multinational trusts (with moneyed interests from Japan and the United States) in what is technically speaking a postcolonial, but in reality a neo-colonial country. Spanning roughly one and a half centuries of Australian history, Carey's oeuvre thus gives a diachronical overview of the experience of a colonized culture.' (p 151)
(p. 151-191)
'Decolonizing the Mind' (II) : Postcolonial Australia,, Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism

'It is one of the most characteristic traits of those of Peter Carey's fictions that are set in a postcolonial context that Australia remains essentially colonial. It is as if the British, by burrowing under and tunnelling out (as featured in Illywhacker), had, metaphorically speaking, destabilized the country and this made it vulnerable to future generations of colonizers. While the British continue to be a force to reckon with in Carey's fictional version of postcolonial Australia, the United States have notably taken over political and cultural stewardship over the country. The detrimental effects the American influence has on the consciousness of the characters in Carey's novels suggest that this new form of cultural and political patronage is not dissimilar to that of the British in former times. In fact, nothing much seems to have changed when the job of protector in chief was reallocated from the British to the Americans in the middle of the twentieth century. Australians in Peter Carey's postcolonial Australia continue to be inhibited by an acute sense of cultural backwardness and political and military dependence.' (p. 194)

(p. 194-215)
'Trying to Make Out the Southern Cross', or, The Dilemma of Australian Identity, Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism (p. 219-233)
The Real Matilda : Re-Inscribing the 'Pygmies' of Australian Culture, Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism
'In his novels, Carey entitles women, the doubly colonized sex in Australian cultural history, to a voice in history and re-inscribes them into the Australian tradition. His novels feature all sorts of strong-willed and charismatic women: Lucinda and Eliabeth Leplastrier in Oscar and Lucinda, the snake-dancer Leah Goldstein and Phoebe McGrath in Illywhacker, Ellen Kelly in True History of the Kelly Gang, Mercy Larkin in Jack Maggs and Felicity Smith in The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith. They all stand their ground in an essentially hostile patriarchal society. With these female characters the author not only reallocates those of his biographee's character traits traditionally associated with a particular sex, but he also actually rewrites the roles of men and especially women have played in Australian history.' (p. 237)
(p. 235-251)
Intruders in the Bush : Women in Male Domains, Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism
'Intruders in the Bush is the title of John Carroll's study about transplanted cultures attempting to find 'a psychological, even a spiritual, home in Australia. It is a history of a people indruding into an alien land. The title of Carroll's book will serve as a motto for the following analysis of the way in which a number of Carey's female characters intrude into those areas of Australian public and private live traditionally reserved for males.' (p. 253)
(p. 253-284)
Wrong About Carey? : Reading Carey in Post-Postmodern Times, Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism (p. 285-298)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Amsterdam,
      c
      Netherlands,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Rodopi ,
      2010 .
      Extent: ix, 348p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Includes index.
      • Includes bibliography: p.299-340.
      • Introduction: p.1-13.
      ISBN: 9789042030701 (pbk.)
      Series: Costerus New Series Rodopi (publisher), series - publisher Number in series: 184

Works about this Work

Untitled Barbara Schmidt-Haberkamp , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: Zeitschrift fur Australienstudien , no. 25 2011; (p. 140-145)

— Review of Rewriting History : Peter Carey's Fictional Biography of Australia Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism
Carey's Mythistory Joseph Wiesenfarth , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , May no. 331 2011; (p. 53-54)

— Review of Rewriting History : Peter Carey's Fictional Biography of Australia Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism
Forderpreis der Gesellschaft fur Australienstudien : Wurdigung der Preistrager - GASt Prize : Judges Comments Andreas Gaile , 2007-2008 single work column
— Appears in: Zeitschrift fur Australienstudien , no. 21-22 2007-2008; (p. 248-250)
Carey's Mythistory Joseph Wiesenfarth , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , May no. 331 2011; (p. 53-54)

— Review of Rewriting History : Peter Carey's Fictional Biography of Australia Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism
Untitled Barbara Schmidt-Haberkamp , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: Zeitschrift fur Australienstudien , no. 25 2011; (p. 140-145)

— Review of Rewriting History : Peter Carey's Fictional Biography of Australia Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism
Forderpreis der Gesellschaft fur Australienstudien : Wurdigung der Preistrager - GASt Prize : Judges Comments Andreas Gaile , 2007-2008 single work column
— Appears in: Zeitschrift fur Australienstudien , no. 21-22 2007-2008; (p. 248-250)
Last amended 30 Nov 2010 17:03:09
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