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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; Common Readers and Cultural Critics
Issue Details: First known date: 2010... Special Issue 2010 of JASAL est. 2002 JASAL
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  • 'The essays collected in this special edition of JASAL were originally presented at the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, held at the Australian National University, Canberra, in July 2009.'


* Contents derived from the 2010 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Proximate Reading : Australian Literature in Transnational Reading Frameworks, Ken Gelder , single work criticism
Ken Gelder introduces the concept of proximate reading as: ‘a way of thinking about reading practices broadly speaking, but in particular, a way of conceptualizing reading and literary writing in contemporary transnational frameworks. Proximate reading opens up a number of aspects of reading and literary practice that are to do with the way readers negotiate place, position and what can be called literary sociality (that is, relations between readers, texts and the meanings that bind these relations together), where these things are understood and evaluated in terms of degrees of closeness and/or distance, that is, proximity.' (1)
The Quality of 'Life' : Dorothy Hewett's Literary Criticism 1945-1969, Fiona Morrison , single work criticism
'Dorothy Hewett's literary criticism engages the questions of canon, genre, style and cultural production that animated her writing life. Her assessment of other writers' work is therefore interesting in and of itself and also powerfully suggestive of the ways in which her own work might be situated, read and re-read. Dorothy Hewett left an impressive archive of non-fiction prose, which variously exhibits the facility and energy evident in Wild Card, and further attests to her generativity across and within a variety of genres. Yet Hewett's critical prose if far from 'wild'. Her literary criticism particularly demonstrates a collected rhetorical understanding of genre and audience. Hewett's criticism presents a direct and intensely personal voice and a marked preference for the categories of the affective and energetic. It is the category of 'life' that her work values, and this notion or topos of 'life' is the centrepiece of her changing and developing views on literature and the literary field.' (Author's abstract)
Instruction for an Ideal Australian : John Forbes’s Poetry of Metaphysical Etiquette, Duncan Hose , single work criticism
'The question of value in poetry or poetry of value often resolves to a question of metaphysics: what goes in to a poem or how it carries its symbolic freight will tell of the poetics involved in the practice, more particularly how the poem might function as a specular technology. Crudely, we might say that some poems are written as paeans to the ephemera of the world by a sovereign soul that is tonally and formally certain of a metaphysical guarantee (even in the expression of uncertainty), either through theosophy, 'pious self-regard,' or just good luck. There are other poems, not pagan exactly, but which seem to have an appetite for the material-historical circumstances of the world in which they find themselves, that go for the world in its lurid contingency, where there might be a wilful and cheeky inclusion of things that are not only ephemeral but redundant to good taste, thereby threatening the traditional sacred territory of the poetic itself.
By way of luxuriating in the habitus of his work, this paper argues that the poetry of John Forbes presents a reformed metaphysic of surfaces that, far from flattening 'deeper' concerns of literature, offers a new kind of etiquette for the spirit by which our perception, symbolic inception, and response to the world is a constant kind of poesis, or creative production of our selves that is at once more lively and Ideally less delusional. It will examine Forbes's conception of poetry as the ultimate technology for regulating and playing with the processes of self-mythologising by fiercely interrogating the symbolic economies, or the textural architectonics of communities, from which selves are made and through which they are cultivated as beings of language.' (Author's abstract)
Shirley Hazzard’s Australia : Belated Reading and Cultural Mobility, Brigitta Olubas , single work criticism
This essay examines Shirley Hazzard’s representation of and reception in Australia by returning to her 1984 Boyer Lectures, arguing that from the perspective of twenty-five years hindsight, they provide a useful contribution to recent conversations about the critical location of Australian literary culture in international contexts, including in particular, the cosmopolitan. In attending to the operations of time and space in Hazzard’s account of her contemporary world, this ‘delayed’ reading of the lectures provides for a more complex understanding of her significance in the contemporary field of Australian literary studies, arguing that in its striking presentation of Cold War locations and events, Hazzard’s work stages a decided move away from the specifically colonial frames that organise Australian cosmopolitanism, and that in this, her work generates a distinctive form of cosmopolitan cultural mobility, and as a consequence a distinctive perspective on Australia. (Author's abstract)
We Call Upon the Author to Explain : Theorising Writers' Festivals as Sites of Contemporary Public Culture, Cori Stewart , single work criticism
'This paper outlines a new vantage point for theorising today’s writers’ festivals as significant sites of contemporary public culture. Increasingly writers’ festivals claim to be both popular and important sites of public discussion and debate, and this paper’s empirical analysis of the 2007 Brisbane Writers Festival bears out these qualities. Yet, this Festival also positions itself as a thinking person’s alternative to the ‘unstoppable urge in TV and newspapers towards providing infotainment’, and claims ‘people are looking to our writers for the tools with which to think, not to be told what to think’ (Campbell, Making Sense of Our World). Addressing the mix of claims made for the 2007 Brisbane Writers Festival, as well as analysing the the topics discussed at the Festival, this paper examines the Festival’s multiple public culture roles and functions. Included in the topics discussed at the Festival are those typically produced and ciruclated in the media such as celebrity culture, and rather than viewing this content as trivialising and manipulative─as many critics of writers’ festivals have done─this paper illustrates how the media extended the 2007 Brisbane Writers Festival’s public culture function.' (Author's abstract)
The New ‘Coterie’ : Writing, Community and Collective, Keri Glastonbury , single work criticism
'In Gangland: Cultural Elites and the New Generationalism (1997) Mark Davis outlined the increasing nepotism of the Australian literary establishment along generational lines. Post-Gangland, 'coterie' has become a dirty word, even as the literary becomes more and more of a niche market. Yet, literary coteries have been with us prior to the British early modern era and through to (and beyond) Anglo-American modernism. It seems ironic to dispense with ideas of coterie at a time when changing modes of communication and publication are producing both fragmentation and possibilities for new literary communities, exceeding the endist (and endless) rhetoric of decline. If, as Perry argues, 'the notion of coterie production offers a useful way to think about the kinds of networks that provided the social occasions for a great deal of literary production' (108) in the court culture of the Renaissance, might productive parallels be drawn with contemporary literary production in the era of social networking? I'm particularly interested in how coterie, community and collective are operating for younger writers post-Gangland, beyond the ubiquitous 'emerging writers' moniker. In what ways does 'insider trading' continue to play a vital part in communities of writing and reading, considering the dissolving boundaries between writing, reading, publishing, networking and socialising?' (Author's abstract)
Reading, Modernity, and the ‘Mental Lives of Savages’, Ian Henderson , single work criticism
'This speculative article juxtaposes a series of impressions, like so many flashes of light, from which to suggest a change in European reading which coheres, at the turn of the twentieth century, around perceptions of Australian Aboriginality. The impressions have three sources: (a) high-profile British novels of the 1850s and 1860s with settings in, or significant references to, the Australian colonies; (b) 'discoveries' made by scientists of reading after 1878; and (c) the work of deeply influential European modernists James Frazer, Sigmund Freud, and Émile Durkheim, whose theories of the evolution of religious belief made extensive use of Francis Gillen's and Baldwin Spencer's work on the Arrernte people, notably The Native Tribes of Central Australia (1899); the article focuses particularly on Freud's Totem and Taboo: Resemblances Between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics. Thus using impressions of nineteenth-century physiological optics, the science of reading, and Freud's evolutionary psychology it develops a model of 'how readers were thought to have read' in the early decades of the twentieth-century in terms of a rhythmic release and containment exploitation/management) of savagery-neurosis.' (Author's abstract)
Distant Context, Local Colour : Australian ‘Post September 11’ Fiction, Jen Webb , single work criticism
'Australian fiction is, arguably, as diverse as the fiction of any other culture or era. But in a globalised world, though the stories we tell may remain inflected by the local context, they will necessarily be informed by transnational relations and geopolitical events. Like writers in the USA, UK, Afghanistan and elsewhere, some Australian novelists have taken arms against a sea of troubles, and produced work that directly and consciously engages that new genre, the post September 11 novel. Only a small number of Australian novels have been published in this genre - perhaps inevitably, given our distance from the scene - and they can be read as relying on the familiar features of the thriller, the detective, or the citygrrl genres that readers find attractive. However, I will suggest that they do more than this. In a reading of Andrew McGahan's Underground, and Richard Flanagan's The Unknown Terrorist, I will discuss the ways in which a very local 'accent' is coloured by broader forces, and what contributions we can offer, here at the foot of the world, to the ongoing conflicts and human rights abuses in the hemisphere above us.' (Author's abstract)
Australia and Its German-Speaking Readers. A Study of How German Publishers Have Imagined Their Readers of Australian Literature, Oliver Haag , single work criticism
'The article is concerned with the German-speaking readers of Australian literature. It analyses the dust jackets (blurbs and cover illustrations) of 401 translated Australian books. It asks: what are the specific strategies of making Australian literature appealing to German-speaking readers? How are German-speaking readers of Australian literature thus invented? And are there any historic shifts in re-inventing the German-speaking reader? One of the findings is that the construction of Australia and its German-speaking readers has not been homogeneous throughout history but has undergone perceptible change. I also argue that the invention of a specifically gendered readership has been a crucial component of the marketing of Australian literature in German translation.' (Author's abstract)
Who Cares Who’s Speaking? Cultural Voice in Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang, Victoria Genevieve Reeve , single work criticism
'When we speak about voice as it relates to specific individuals, we invariably strive to define its qualities: idiomatic, posh, intellectual, lowbrow, highbrow, regional, rural, suburban, urbane, musical, mellow, honeyed—a range of tonal, and competence-defined terms get used, but also place-related ones in terms of accent—geographical indicators like language and vernacular patterns of speech. Our descriptions endeavour, in some form, to identify voices in sensual terms that either locate them in time and space or which respond to the sensuality of hearing by making value judgments that categorise voices as having an impact upon the listener—pleasurable or otherwise. Voice hints, somewhat tantalisingly, at the historical traces of its past locations through these telltale signs of social and cultural situatedness. It seems to want to tell us where it's been over and above the grammatical indicators of where it's coming from. Yet voice—whatever that may be and however we may define it—is a performance: "the writing in the voice" to which Derrida has referred, is that rhetorical expression of presence inherent in our speech and arranged according to the conventions and rules of language. I perform my presence, grammatically, rhetorically and semantically, when I speak: the true indicator of my being, my voice and my presence, is something I myself can only gesture toward, and in gesturing, I perform: I write myself into my voice every time I speak.
In this essay I discuss, through an analysis of voice in Peter Carey's True History of the Kelly Gang, what this means in terms of understanding voice as it is identified in the novel, arguing that cultural voice performs, in its own way, the locatedness of voice within the history of its speaker's life.' (Author's abstract)
Reading Rape in Colonial Australia : Barbara Baynton's 'The Tramp', the Bulletin and Cultural Criticism, Nina Philadelphoff-Puren , single work criticism
'This article proposes a re-reading of Barbara Baynton's short-story "The Tramp", published in the Bulletin in December 1896, and later reprinted as "The Chosen Vessel" in Bush Studies 1902. Literary criticism of this tale has tended to focus on its existence in this later version; in revisiting the 1896 publication of the story, this article reframes it in the context of the colonial debates about rape that marked the 1880s and 1890s. Of the numerous events that form potential intertexts here, this paper will focus on the relationship between 'The Tramp' and the Mount Rennie rape case of 1886-7. This case was the subject of countless editorials, reports and letters in the colonial press, as well as catalysing petitions, public meetings and parliamentary debates. The Bulletin in particular was preoccupied with Mount Rennie, regularly editorialising on it until the end of 1896, when those defendants who had not been executed were finally released. This paper argues that by reading Baynton's story as materially embedded in this rich colonial dialogue about rape, new fronts are opened up for feminist analysis. In particular, it is possible to evaluate the way that 'The Tramp' intersects in both radical and conservative ways with the colonial narrative of 'real rape' which structured debates at the time. (Author's abstract)

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Last amended 19 Jun 2017 13:12:22