Issue Details: First known date: 2012... 2012 The Queerness of Jessica Anderson's Fiction
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'Gay men have a significant presence in Jessica Anderson's novels. From the first, An Ordinary Lunacy (1963), to her final work One of the Wattlebirds (1994), gay men appear as friends, assistants, confidants, "comrades", family members and in one instance as a fiance, of her central women characters. An Ordinary Lunacy presents arguably the first modern gay man in Australian literature, while Taking Shelter (1989), Anderson's most sexually ambiguous work, is the first Australian novel to concern itself with HIV/AIDS. In the award-winning and best-selling Tirra Lirra by the River (1978) gay men play pivotal roles. Unlike some of Anderson's contemporaries whose queerness has been explored by literary scholars - such as Patrick White or David Malouf - the rich array of queer representations in Anderson's oeuvre has been largely ignored. In light of this critical neglect this essay examines Anderson's representations of gay men and more generally non-normative sexualities. In particular, I argue that the queerness of Anderson's fiction offers the reader a nuanced and astute critique of the ways in which heterosexuality is privileged, fashioned and maintained as "natural" within late-twentieth-century Australian culture.' (Author's abstract)

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  • Appears in:
    y Southerly Mid-Century Women Writers vol. 72 no. 1 2012 Z1896404 2012 periodical issue 2012 pg. 136-152
Last amended 24 Oct 2012 12:25:21
136-152 The Queerness of Jessica Anderson's FictionAustLit Southerly
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