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Rewriting History : Theoretical Premises single work   criticism  
Issue Details: First known date: 2010... 2010 Rewriting History : Theoretical Premises
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'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)


  • Epigraph: If white Australia had a ‘culture’ it was predominantly a Christian one – it had destroyed 40,000 years of aboriginal culture to establish itself. Now, it seemed the Christian culture was dying. This seemed an interesting site for an exploration…not so much saving history as inventing it, re-shaping it, creating ways of looking at it.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Rewriting History : Peter Carey's Fictional Biography of Australia Andreas Gaile , Amsterdam : Rodopi , 2010 Z1711490 2010 single work criticism

    '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: (Sighted 27/07/2010).

    Amsterdam : Rodopi , 2010
    pg. 17-28
Last amended 30 Nov 2010 09:59:12
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