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'This essay develops on the premise of imagining, which is the heart of story-making: imagine the physicality of story. Imagine the deployment strategies, the covert 'translations' of difference' that facilitate the entry of the Other story through the gate. And once inside, imagine how this Otherness is legitimised, packaged and consumed within the Australian nation.' (p. 3)
Martin suggests that The Man Who Loved Children 'can be read as a rewriting of ... Ethel Turner's Seven little Australians' and argues that while the novel can be seen as 'a response to the plotting laid out in nineteenth-century humanist realist fiction for girls', considering 'the novel in relation to specifically Australian examples, and to Seven Little Australians in particular, suggests a reaction against, and a 'refunctioning' of, the culturally-specific narratives with which Stead grew up' (p.35).
'The extent to which a notional Australia is at stake in new ventures in Australian literary history is ... a timely and productive question. These three new titles present quite varied versions of both literary history and any proffered "Australia", reflecting at once the current state of the field and the impulses galvanising literary endeavour in different quarters' (p.50-51).
Lacken discusses manuscripts of early works by Peter Carey: three unpublished novels - 'Wog', 'The Futility Machine', 'Adventures aboard the Marie Celeste' - and a collection of short stories - 'Slides for a Magic Lantern Show'.