'The imaginations of convicts in Australia became attuned to the pairing of opposites and this led to strange tensions in their way of representing things. On Norfolk Island the meanings of words were reversed, so that ‘good’ meant ‘bad’ and ‘ugly’ meant ‘beautiful’. This undermining of official meanings produced the argot called the ‘flash’ or ‘kiddy’ language of the colony. Designed at first to keep private sentiments from being inspected, it eventually supported a system of dissident actions called ‘cross-work’ or ‘cross doings’. One word loomed large amidst these inversions: ‘fakement’, meaning booty, forgery or deceit. The verb has more extensive meanings: rob, wound, shatter; ‘fake your slangs’ means break your shackles. It also meant performing a fiction and accepting the consequences of it.' (Publication abstract)
'This article investigates imaginings of Europe in contemporary Australian fiction in order to explore whether (traveling to) Europe provides alternative points of reference to discourses on nation, belonging, and identity beyond the (settler) postcolonial. The article sets out to compare recent works by Peter Carey, Christos Tsiolkas and Gail Jones who narrate Europe against a wide range of backgrounds, covering diverse diasporic, migratory and expatriate experiences, in order to explore the role of Europe as an alternative space, and of European modernities in particular, in the Australian literary imagination. Concentrating on Jack Maggs (1997), Dead Europe (2005) and A Guide to Berlin (2015), the article has a threefold focus: Firstly, it analyses the representation of European spaces and explores how the three novels draw attention to multiple modernities within and beyond Europe. Secondly, it demonstrates how all three novels, in their own way, reveal European modernities to be haunted by its other, i.e. death, superstition, ghosts, or the occult. Thirdly, these previous findings will be synthesized in order to determine how the three novels relate Europe to Australia. Do they challenge or perpetuate the protagonists’ desire for Europe as an ‘imaginary homeland’? Do references to Europe support the construction of national identity in the works under review, or do these references rather point to the emergence of multiple or transnational identities?'
'[...]Peter Widdowson argues that Jack Maggs, along with a number of other counterdiscursive novels, are books that "almost invariably have a clear cultural-political thrust": " That is why the majority of them align themselves with feminist and/or postcolonialist criticism in demanding that past texts' complicity in oppression . . . be revised and re-visioned as part of the process of restoring a voice, a history and an identity to those hitherto re-visionary fiction exploited, marginalized and silenced by dominant interests and ideologies" (505-6). Because of the novel's overt generic subversiveness and its direct engagement with Victorian literature, it is not a surprise that Jack Maggs has been viewed as a predictable category through this kind of reductive and self-affirming lens more than most of Carey's other novels have. Savery was married in England and had a son named Henry, who, like his namesake Maggs's adopted son, would have been twenty-one years old in 1837. [...]of the only three copies left of the original manuscripts of Saver y's Quintos Servinton, one is held in the Mitchell Library in Sydney, where Maggs's fictional letters are preserved. [...]it is that language and literature jointly provide political foundations for a nation" (World 34). Schmidt-Haberkamp comments on the usage of the phrase "such is life" by Great Expectations' working-class Joe and Maggs and the way that it reverberates with the nationalist spirit of Joseph Furphy's classic Australian novel Such Is Life: "Containing the fictional diaries of Tom Collins, a former bullocky, the novel in 1897 was offered to The Bulletin for serial publication by its author with the description: 'Temper democratic; bias, offensively Australian'" (258). [...]Jack Maggs is as much a text about Carey as it is about Dickens, Maggs, and Oates and the literary cultures that all of these "authors" dwell in and represent, divided around two literary poles of England and Australia.' (Publication abstract)
Richard Flanagan’s novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North represents yet another addition to the catalogue of Australian war experience literature. The awards and accompanying praise the novel has earned since its release in 2013 reflects a widespread appreciation of its ability to reimagine Australia in a saturated terrain. Flanagan’s novel can be read as a critique of the rise of militant nationalism emerging in the wake of Australia’s backing of Bush’s ‘war on terror’ and the idea that the arrival of boat refugees requires a military and militant response. This article discusses how the novel’s shift from battle heroics to the ordeal of POWs in the Thai jungle represents a reimagining – away from the preoccupation with epic battles – but not necessarily a challenge to the overriding emphasis on baptism of fire narratives as the only truly national narratives.