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Issue Details: First known date: 2010... 2010 Who Cares Who’s Speaking? Cultural Voice in Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang
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'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)


  • Epigraph: Let me give you a very rough idea of the territory it is not an easy bit of land to learn so 1st I will give you a simple picture you must imagine a great wedge of pie with a high ridge around its outer crust they call that ridge the Great Dividing Range.

    At the apex of the wedge is the river town of Wangaratta and you might imagine the Ovens River running along the eastern side of the wedge. It would be simplest to say the Broken River makes the western side of the wedge that's a lie but never mind. The King River is more obliging cutting right down the centre of the wedge to join the Ovens River exactly at Wangaratta. Next you must imagine the pie slopes up from Wangaratta where the land is very flat. It were near here in Oxley that Annie were married but the boy and the grisly man spent the afternoon travelling to higher elevations along the centre of the wedge. By late afternoon having left the limits of selection they poked up a long winding ridge and by early evening they was definitely entering big country. At last they picked a path down a densely wooded gully to a mountain stream. (Carey 71)

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  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon JASAL Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature; Common Readers and Cultural Critics Special Issue 2010 Z1717121 2010 periodical issue 2010
Last amended 19 Jun 2017 13:15:47 Who Cares Who’s Speaking? Cultural Voice in Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gangsmall AustLit logo JASAL