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Issue Details: First known date: 2010... 2010 An Imperishable Spring? Stow’s Tourmaline, the Cold War and the Phenomenon of the Star
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Published in 1963, the year after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Tourmaline points toward Cold War horizons. America, the guardian of the free world after World War II, was bolstered in its resistance to Communism by Christian revivalism, two of whose most gifted exponents, the Catholic priest Father Patrick Peyton and the Protestant evangelist Dr Billy Graham, made successful visits to Australia in the 1950s. In Stow's Tourmaline, the "esprit de corps" of a drought-stricken, impoverished former goldmining town in the Western Australian desert undergoes Christian revival thanks to a water diviner who calls himself Michael Random. Blond, blue-eyed, handsome and athletic, Michael is nonetheless in a state of religious crisis that is alleviated only when an old Aboriginal woman, Gloria Day, refers him to one of Jesus' parables. But Michael is already a star by virtue of the townspeople's reception of him: whether they love him or subject him to a hermeneutics of suspicion (one of the characters sarcastically calls him "the witch doctor"), Michael's every move fascinates the Tourmaliners. In the course of the novel, Michael's star is eclipsed, perhaps on the very terms of the parable cited by Gloria Day. Polarised around religious certainties and uncertainties, encompassing unrequited passions and Western-movie-style power struggles, Tourmaline could be described as an epistemological melodrama. Besides Tourmaline, the paper draws on Stow's The Bystander (1957) and Visitants (1979) for evidence of a complex, nuanced relationship between Stow's Australia, a mediated United States of America, and the 'star' phenomenon.' (Author's abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Reading Across the Pacific : Australia-United States Intellectual Histories Robert Dixon (editor), Nicholas Birns (editor), Sydney : Sydney University Press , 2010 Z1754436 2010 anthology criticism 'Reading Across the Pacific is a study of literary and cultural engagement between the United States and Australia from a contemporary interdisciplinary perspective. The book examines the relations of the two countries, shifting the emphasis from the broad cultural patterns that are often compared, to the specific networks, interactions, and crossings that have characterised Australian literature in the United States and American literature in Australia.
    In the twenty-first century, both American and Australian literatures are experiencing new challenges to the very different paradigms of literary history and criticism each inherited from the twentieth century. In response to these challenges, scholars of both literatures are seizing the opportunity to reassess and reconfigure the conceptual geography of national literary spaces as they are reformed by vectors that evade or exceed them, including the transnational, the local and the global.
    The essays in Reading Across the Pacific are divided into five sections: National Literatures and Transnationalism, Poetry and Poetics, Literature and Popular Culture, The Cold War, and Publishing History and Transpacific Print Cultures' (Source: Publisher's website).
    Sydney : Sydney University Press , 2010
    pg. 255-264
Last amended 23 Feb 2011 14:29:48
255-264 An Imperishable Spring? Stow’s Tourmaline, the Cold War and the Phenomenon of the Starsmall AustLit logo
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