jeudi 21 juin 2012
ASAL 2012 Conference ‘The Colonies’
Maurice Alexander, Deakin University Australian 'Religious Poetry’ versus 'Religion and Poetry'- Poetry as Political
In my M.A. thesis I wrote on Les Murray's poetry using philosophy from one source, Karl Marx. In this paper I want to look at a contrast between religious poetry and poetry with religion in it. The texts will be Murray's poem, 'Poetry and Religion' and poems and his introduction to his edited volume 'Anthology of Australian Religious Poetry. I will then explore this as a lead in to a broader look at Poetry as a valuable contribution to Political Philosophy in its broadest aspects. This based on an historical interrelation of Religion and Philosophy and Politics. Keyvan Allahyari, Auckland University Reconstructing the Past: the History of the Author and the Book in Contemporary Australian literature
This paper considers Richard Flanagan’s Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish (2001), Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang (2000) and My Life as a Fake (2003), as well as the now Australian-based J.M Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year (2007). The generic quality which puts these novels in the same family is their plotting of a narrative around the act of writing a ‘text’ by a ‘real’ artist-criminal in a specific historical phase of Australian literature. I will argue that these novels have a feel of reconstructing the history of Australian writing throughout a variety of periods. The respective periods are early convict writing, the bushranger literature, modern poetry, and the contemporary novel. These works, I maintain, exhibit a consistent epistemological outlook which ultimately illustrates a dialectics of literary writing in Australian history shaping around the image of a cultural anti-hero.
Danny Anwar, University of New South Wales The Mobilisation of Collective Perception in Clarke’s For the Term of His Natural Life
Clarke’s 19th century classic leaves tension between Victorian melodrama and the subject of convict transportation. Michael Wilding’s Marcus Clarke (1977) suggests these melodramatic plots only offer a structural foundation to the documentary realism. Nicholas Birns in his recent essay ‘Globalization down under in Marcus Clarke’s *His Natural Life+’ (Spring 2005) avoids this problem by arguing that two central characters: Dawes and Frere are no melodramatically deployed. Such accounts open the question of how popular literary forms work not only to generate a collective mode of perception, but also to constitute our sense of place. Drawing on Walter Benjamin’s ‘Work of Art…’ (2008), I suggest Clarke employs these popular forms to allow convict atrocities to be absorbed passively on a mass scale, thereby mobilizing a collective perception of sadness in our sense of place. By examining popular literary forms in relation to collective perception, my paper attempts to resolve the inherent tension in Clarke’s novel. Amelberga Vita Astuti, Monash University City as a Space of Negotiation in Anggraeni’s Journeys through Shadows
This presentation examines the ways in which women negotiate their position and opportunities in adapting transnational ties of Indonesian and Australian society. A study of Dewi Anggraeni’s novel, Journeys through Shadows, shows that, Indonesian women negotiate around ties of family and friendship as well as economic in dealing with a new society. Participation in urban activities seems to make easier for women to obtain a sense of acceptance in the host society. However, this novel continues to show that the women are unable to liberate themselves from perspectives attached to their cultural and spiritual inheritance that impair them from gaining complete integration. This novel shows that the city provides spaces for alternative forms of negotiating the homeland orientation in order that women can embrace the expected warmth and friendship of the host country.
Damien Barlow, La Trobe University Antipodean Whitmanites: The Trimbles and Bernard O’Dowd
Walt Whitman never visited the Antipodes, but his embracing and empathetic Leaves of Grass did make its way south, seeding local Whitmanites across Australia and New Zealand. Most notable among these Antipodean devotees was the poet Bernard O’Dowd in Melbourne who corresponded with Whitman between 1890-91 and the married couple William and Annie Trimble from Dunedin who completed the first concordance of Whitman’s work in 1909. This paper examines the work of these Antipodean Whitmanites: from the lectures given by O’Dowd during the 1890s and William Trimble in the early 1900s, to Annie Trimble’s short work Walt Whitman and the Mental Science (1911). By drawing on a Deleuzo Guattarian notion of ‘becoming’ I examine the devotion Whitman inspired in these Antipodean Whitmanites. Moreover, I examine how Whitman’s poetry created ‘lines of flight’ for his antipodean readers, encouraging a range of filiations to develop not only between men such as O’Dowd and William Trimble, or women like Annie Trimble, but also how such devotion to Whitman inspired new trans-Tasman and trans-Pacific alliances outside of the old historic links of the British Empire. Jess Bates, Auckland University Disgusting (and Disguising) Settlement: an embodied colonial continuity in Aotearoa NZ
The discontinuation of the word 'colonial' to describe our national condition is a refusal of the dirty history on which the Pakeha presence in this place is grounded. There are, however, unmistakeable colonial continuities which persist over time, in the way that the Pakeha sensory lexicon has developed. Through the affect of 'disgust,' I seek to put bodies at the centre of a continuing colonial present and national identity-forming. This sensory response mechanism partakes in a 'colonizing aesthetics,' which continues to naturalise the bodies of second settlers in this place over time. The way in which the bodies of both indigenous (Maori) and exogenous (migrant) are coded as variously ‘beautiful and ‘revolting’ demonstrates the colonial aversions embedded in our sensorium. Tracing our rhetoric around Maoriland, a ‘national literature’ and immigration discourse, the symbiosis of disgust and disguise become evident. Our senses are at helm of a self-authorising colonial practice; an embodied Pakeha nationalism. Megan Brown, University of Wollongong The Australian Journal: Creating a Colonial "Place" in a Global Context Periodicals were the lifeblood of communication in the colonies. They not only published the essential economic and political information that oiled the wheels of commercial enterprise, they provided a backdrop to the narratives of colonial life. Periodicals were reactive, encouraging readers to engage with them in discussion of both important and trivial day to day issues. This paper will focus on the turbulent early years of the Australian Journal, a periodical miscellany which was first published in Melbourne in 1865. It attempted to create a sense of place and colonial community. From its first issue it aimed to appeal to as wide an audience as possible and to this end it published writing from the major Australian colonies and from New Zealand. The work of contributors such as Mary Fortune was significant in this development of a distinctive colonial voice. The editors made it clear that the periodical’s aim was to develop separate and distinct colonial narratives yet remain part of an international context; a balancing act with a curiously modern resonance. Lianda Burrows, Monash University The Endless Movement toward Meaning in Patrick White’s Voss and The Tree of Man: Language, Landscape, and Apotheosis
In Patrick White’s fiction, most notably Voss and The Tree of Man, the creation of place and meaning is tied to two interconnected acts: continuous movement across a landscape and linguistic expression. In journeying across a landscape, the perpetual subordination of the individual’s will to nature often leads to linguistic attempts to assert him/herself on the land. This is apparent in the transcription of Antipodean histories and mythologies, both by White and by his characters, and in attempts to inscribe the land through the journeys themselves, the marking of trees, and the creation of farmed land. In White, two implications predictably arise: characters struggle to accept that the landscape cannot be linguistically harnessed and fall into fatalism; and/or, accept that it cannot be contained and experience a sense of apotheosis in relation to it. Significantly, however, the creation of place and meaning lies not, as is widely held, in either of these resultant individual states, but in the perpetuity of the attempts at linguistic creation itself. Robert Clarke, University of Tasmania Journeys to Country: Travelling Home in Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Travel Writing
The ‘journey to Country’ narrative is a vital and ubiquitous element of contemporary writing by Aboriginal Australians. While the number of Aboriginal writers whose works are marketed under the category of ‘travel writing’ is small, ‘journeys to Country’ appear across all genres in contemporary Aboriginal writing in English, particularly autobiography and prose fiction. Adopting a trangeneric approach, this paper introduces the idea of an Aboriginal style of travel writing and focuses on the political salience of journeys to Country. Journeys to Country are undertaken by Aboriginal Australians of mixed racial heritage travelling from their ‘home’ in some suburban locale to the ‘Home’ or ‘Country’ of an ancestor who was removed and exiled by white agents and/or institutions. It is a journey through space and time to an originary point of cultural and familial dislocation; of personal, communal, and national loss. Journeys to country function as forms of cultural recovery; as acts of mourning as well as demonstrations of cultural resilience and sovereignty. Yet they are also political acts addressed to white Australia.
Catharine Coleborne, University of Waikato Imagined webs: narratives of the mobile trans-Tasman world of the nineteenth century
This paper examines published accounts of the colonial cities of Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland. Writers, journalists, and settlers all noted aspects of social life and change; in the process, they narrated colonial mobility. How colonial worlds of interconnected places and peoples were imagined by contemporaries is significant. Post 1840, particular attention was paid to undesirable mobility. Scholars including Miles Fairburn have already highlighted the presence in colonial life of the ‘social derelict’, suggesting that settlers were keen to avoid the anxieties provoked by a visible lack of social cohesion. Writing about Australia, Alan Atkinson tells us that Europeans were struggling to ‘know what they themselves were like and what they were unlike’. Through an assessment of the contemporary narratives of colonial life, and the people who somehow threatened successful mobility through their transgression of spaces and norms, this paper suggests new ways of seeing and analysing trans-Tasman and trans colonial histories. Joseph Cummins, University of NSW Listening to Alex Miller’s Landscape
Australian novelist Alex Miller’s two novels, Journey to the Stone Country (2002) and Landscape of Farewell (2007) that he has described as being related like “cousins”, generate a multifaceted sense of place that resonates with colonial histories of dispossession and present debates over land rights and the environment. This paper takes up this resonance by arguing for the importance of examining sound and listening in Miller’s engagement with Postcolonial spatialities that, while challenging contemporary national binaries, also remain deeply immersed in the regionality of the Northern Queensland landscape. Deploying French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy’s theorisation of listening and being, this paper untangles the complex inter weavings of colonial history and transnational meetings that Miller’s novels rehearse. By listening closely to the sounds and silences that animate themes of both the loss and guilt of history, and future reconciliation, I seek to amplify how Miller’s soundscapes construct the relations that resonate between his listening characters, and between the characters and the sonorous landscape.
Maria del Pilar Royo Grasa, University of Zaragoza, NSW Spectral Nature in Gail Jones’s Sorry
Gail Jones’s Sorry has been mainly interpreted as a ‘saying-sorry text’. Both Dolores Herrero and Janet Wilson emphasize that the novel seeks to criticize and compensate for John Howard’s refusal to apologize publicly to the Stolen Generations. Although While this enactment of apology may be the novel’s main topic, these readings seem to narrow its focus of concern to the local, overlooking its attempts to mourn other traumatic events. As I intend to argue, this paper will focus instead on the ways in which the novel’s depiction of space may engages both national (the Stolen Generations) and international (Second World War) traumas. As I will analyse and discuss Proceeding from a reading of ‘the shack’ could be read as heterotopia, that ‘other space’ which ‘has the power of juxtaposing in a single real place different places and locations that are incompatible with each other,’ (Foucault 1986) it will examine the ‘hauntology’ (Jones 2006) at the novel’s heart as a strategy against loss and forgetfulness, returning readers to the possibility of reparation.
Jaimee Edwards, University of New South Wales Re-Mapping War's Terrain Across Two Plays" Kate Mulvany's The Seed and Helen Pearse-Otene's Ka Mate, Ka Ora
Discussion and representation of the Vietnam War, from participating nations, is often characterised by dichotomous comparisons. Not even the shared sentiments of the Anzac ethos binds the experiences of the war and its aftermath for Australia and New Zealand. Yet, where attention to politics and policy might describe alienated experiences, a refocusing on second and third generation subjects of this war illuminates productive continuities. This paper examines two plays, Australian Kate Mulvany’s The Seed (2008) and New Zealander Helen Pearse-Otene’s Ka Mate, Ka Ora (2008) to investigate the roles of gender and affect in contemporary reflections of the Vietnam War. The parallel focus of both plays is on daughters and granddaughters confrontation with filial and military legacy via the affective consequences of war. This discussion will consider what kind of interruptions to the conventional Anzac narrative these emotional re-engagements with the war might threaten, and how the synchronicity of these playwright’s interests might remap transnational relations. Michael Farrell, University of Melbourne The Geopoetics of Affect: Bill Neidje’s ‘Story About Feeling’.
The term, ‘geopoetics’, is adapted from the use by postcolonial theorists, Walter Mignolo and Leo Ching, of the term ‘geopolitics of knowledge’, and is informed particularly by Mignolo’s essay ‘I Am Where I Think’. This paper attempts to practice a geocritical or geopoetical reading of Gagudju man Neidje’s long poem, in a way that broadens readings of place in relation to Indigenous poetics. My paper is also informed by affect theory, particularly with regard to tone, and considers how affect is produced geopoetically. I ask, what is this ‘where’ of place that is produced in texts such as Neidje’s, and what is the place that such texts are consigned to? Mignolo calls for the ‘epistemic democratization’ of knowledge: democratization, I argue, must include creative knowledges: meaning knowledges reproduced in creative works; and poetics of the works.
Charles Ferrall, Victoria University Henry Lawson in Maoriland
Like tens of thousands other Australians during the economically depressed 1890s, Henry Lawson made three trips to New Zealand looking for and sometimes finding work. As “Maoriland” and a country with a progressive government (he arrived in time to celebrate women getting the vote for the first time in history), New Zealand was for Lawson a distinct nation from Australia but in many ways merely a geographical space containing a number of separate colonies. Drawing upon my recently published Henry Lawson in New Zealand, I discuss the “people’s poet’s” surprisingly undeveloped sense of nationality. Some reference will also be made to Lawson’s time teaching at a “Native School” in the small, remote (and now ghost) Maori settlement of Mangamaunu in the South Island.
Jane Gleeson-White, University of NSW Capitalism versus the agency of place: an ecocritical reading of That Deadman Dance and Carpentaria
Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria and Kim Scott’s That Deadman Dance – both Miles Franklin Award winning novels – have put the Indigenous novel at the centre of Australian literature for the first time and established these writers as two of Australia’s most prominent and successful contemporary fiction writers. Their work has been widely acclaimed by scholars and critics; and won and been short-listed for major literary prizes. And yet both these novels subvert the idea of Australia as a nation and challenge the economic project such nationalism is predicated upon. Both novels portray an unsettling picture of Australia and its history, challenging the notion of a singular Australia by positing the power and agency of place. Through an examination of the conflict between capitalism and regional indigenous management explored in these novels, this paper argues that both these authors write with an intent to remake Australia and its literature from the region up.
Demelza Hall, University of Ballarat ‘Re-Visiting the Colonial Homestead in Contemporary Australian Literature’
As western domestic topographies, colonial homesteads, stations or pastoral estates signify a sense of rootedness and are readily associated with acts of dwelling. As Martin Heidegger recognises, however, conventional domestic structures that are “determined by dwelling” do not necessarily “guarantee it” (146). Despite the resolute homeliness inferred through its architecture and name, the colonial homestead tends to be represented as a failed dwelling in Australian literature. Based upon my doctoral research—which analyses spaces of intercultural exchange in contemporary Australian literary works—this presentation unpacks the space of the homestead in early twenty-first century Australian novels, such as Kate Grenville’s The Secret River and Sarah Thornhill and Andrew McGahan’s The White Earth, and questions what is to be gained from reiteratively situating national narratives within colonial spaces that hinder, rather than inspire, a sense of meaningful dwelling and interactive coexistence.
Katie Hansord, Deakin University Transnational Louisa Lawson: Pre- Raphaelite poetics, Spiritualism and Feminism in The Dawn and ‘The Lonely Crossing’
This paper will present an argument for the transnational context of Louisa Lawson’s poetry. Although this aspect has received little attention in scholarship of Lawson’s poetry, the high level of engagement with transnational poetic influences, through print culture in particular, is important to understanding the radicalism of her poetry. Transnational flows of print culture are reflected in Lawson’s poetry, which appeared in Australian periodicals including The Worker, The Town and Country Journal, The Bulletin, and The Dawn in the 1890s preceding the publication of ‘The Lonely Crossing’ in 1905. The Dawn was a journal which Olive Lawson notes ‘in the early 1890s …had readers in New Zealand, Fiji, England and Scotland, Europe and America” (13), and in which Lawson published her own poetry. Lawson’s broader poetic influences have been little discussed, and I argue that her poetry demonstrates connections to the pre-Raphaelite and popular periodical poetry of British and American writers. Penny Holliday, Queensland University of Technology The Shifting City: representations of Melbourne in contemporary narratives
Using Melbourne as an example, this paper will consider how contemporary literature shifts the boundaries of the city so that it is constantly being destabilised and reconfigured and often disappears only to re-emerge in another form or manifestation. It will begin with the premise that this shifting of boundaries within contemporary literature belongs to a long tradition of discursive construction which can be traced back to the pre-settlement of Australia (Armellino 2009). The city is unique in that its identity is also closely associated with the ever-changing suburban landscape; each suburb represents a piece of the “Melbourne mosaic”. Each is a space in which the past-the-future and the present are deeply embedded and are continuously engaged in a disassembling and reassembling of identity. Recent contemporary fiction brings into relief the variant configurations of Melbourne. This paper will situate the reading of contemporary fiction within a third space framework which acknowledges there are different ways to read a city by drawing on Sophie Cunnigham’s recent text “Melbourne” (2011) and a selection of fictional contemporary writings. Soja’s notion of third space opens up a dialogue that reveals the tensions between ideas of national binaries and the multiple realities of lived experience. Anna Johnston, University of Tasmania “New Homes for the Old Country”: Travel Writing and the Colonial Settler Colonies
The second British Empire provided both the physical infrastructure and ideological rationale for a considerable amount of travel and travel writing in the southern hemisphere. Nineteenth-century colonies, such as Australia and New Zealand, stimulated many travellers to explore their exotic climates, flora and fauna, and novel social organization. If, on the one hand, the settler colonies intrigued British travellers by their similarity to home, on the other hand incipient settler nationalism and identities both fascinated and troubled Victorian travel writers. Visiting in the expectation of confirming Britain’s global domination, a group of mid-to-late-nineteenth-century travellers encountered disquieting differences in the southern colonies, not only with indigenous peoples, but with settler colonists. Travel books of the “Tasman world” explicitly advocated for the unity of British blood, alongside the (mostly) implicit corollary of indigenous removal; examining their foundational role in national imaginaries and global geographies through postcolonial literary analysis promises to contribute to the recent resurgence of interdisciplinary settler colonial studies.
Claire Jones, University of Western Australia “Gardening” Australia: the project of Bildung
A national culture is cultivated. It is a careful construction formed and maintained by educational institutions. The project of Bildung becomes a project of legitimisation that Ernest Gellner termed “the gardening state.” It is commonly observed that in most circumstances the process of nation construction involves a people drawing a geographical boundary around itself, after which literature, through the systems of administration and education, becomes official nationalism. Australia’s geographical definition differed from this model as there was a predetermined border that was then peopled, so perhaps the process of education and culture formation that followed had a greater administrative need. One text that has been critical to the Australian Bildung is Dickens’ Great Expectations. This paper will consider why this novel has had such an influential position in Australia’s educational systems and how our response to this novel is changing in a post-national, or even transnational, Australia. Joanne Jones, Curtin University “A silence where hath been no sound”: The antipodean poetic in Jane Campion’s The Piano and Gail Jones’s Sorry Both Campion’s The Piano (1991) and Jones’s Sorry (1995) convey remote colonial experience as connected to that which is inexpressible, both in connection to the sublimity of antipodean space and to grief and trauma. The heroines of the two texts have distinct relationships to language. Both take recourse to imaginative and non-linguistic expression to enable them to communicate extreme experiences; the expressive act is also one of survival. Andrew McCann stated that “settler cultures distil the essence of modernity” (Marcus Clarke’s Bohemia 5). In this paper I argue that these two settler colonial narratives posit a complex, interior poetic as a mode of resistance to structures of modernity, including aggressive colonial/capitalist expansion and the nuclear family. While The Piano is a film and Sorry a novel, both texts explore the complexities of conveying that which is linguistically incommunicable through the myriad subtleties of sensory expression and reception and exploring modes of suggestion and implication. Both texts, in this sense, insist on the primacy of the poetic. Thomas Hood’s “Silence”, the poem heard in the final scene of The Piano, is a meditation on the finality of death. Both Jones’ and Campion’s texts, while they explore speechlessness, are also response to the impossibility of silence and the need for sound. They advocate a vital recourse to poeticism and imagination.
Kerry Kilner, University of Queensland AustLit – the new Australian Literature Resource
During 2012 the key resource for the study of Austral(as)ian literary culture, AustLit, is undergoing a dramatic transformation. This paper will present the new AustLit to the audience we greatly care about and discuss the ways we will engage with researchers, teachers and the wider community in a world that is increasingly embracing the unaffiliated expert and open access. The Director of AustLit, Kerry Kilner, will describe how communities of interest with a wide spectrum of preoccupations will be able to explore, analyse and contribute to this unique record of the ways we tell and think about storytelling across our history. As an example of the way the new AustLit will operate as an information and research resource, this paper will pay particular attention to the representation of trans-Tasman relationships as ‘Australasia’ moved from a shared colonial history to present times where cultural links continue to echo strongly. It will demonstrate how the cultural flows between New Zealand Aotearoa and Australia are reflected in the AustLit database and how this data can be used to underpin and extend research projects. Julieanne Lamond, Australian National University "Australians and Americans: they are all the same": Rosa Praed, colonial identity and America
In The Right Honorable: A Romance of Society and Politics, London socialite Lady Betty Morse is impressed by a young Australian woman, observing, "What society would despise in a mere provincial, it admires in an American or colonial’ (35). Rosa Praed's novels, including those written in collaboration with British politician Justin McCarthy, portray colonial identity as it is triangulated not just between colony and imperial centre, but also by other points on the compass. Praed's career as a whole benefits from being seen in this light. Praed was widely read in the United States and received considerable attention when she travelled there with McCarthy in 1886. Her writing - in terms of individual novels and as a body of work - fits uneasily into any national literary category. This paper takes Praed's writing about and reception in America as one example of the very transnational basis of this "Anglo-Australian's" work and career. Chris Lee, University of Southern Queensland Smithy, his Navigator and the Barbarians: Aviation and the Australian imagination between the Wars
In the first half of the twentieth century sensational press accounts of the war together with reports of barnstorming accidents and fatal crashes confirmed flying as a dangerous pursuit for those who dared. The representation of flight between the wars was a stirring compulsion for communication industries synonymous with the modern nation state; cinema, newspapers and radio all ensured that the nation’s aerial achievement became a daily possession of their consumers. Long distance British and Australian aviators joined the metropolitan dots for citizens of the Empire and in the process demonstrated the on-going traction of the imperial spirit. When Henry Lawson was nostalgically lamenting the end of the days when the world was wide some forty years earlier he was insisting that men required the challenge of sublime distance if they were to preserve and cultivate the qualities that pushed civilization outward in space and forward in time. The sky offered a special training and proving ground for post-colonials who would deliver their country into an expansive future. This paper looks at the careers of Australian aviators Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Sir P. G. Taylor as expressions of media investment in spectacle and celebrity. It is particularly interested in the colonial logic of the frontier fantasy and the hubris of imperial masculinity which it traces in the thematic preoccupations of aviation writing and reportage.
Michael Stuart Lynch, University of Western Sydney Writing Australian Identity, Succeeding in the Colonies and Richardson's 'Money Book' This paper will discuss writing students being asked a question about their Australian Identity. ('Tell us who we are teacher.') It will also discuss a central aspect of Nineteenth Century colonial life, brought to the fore in Henry Handel Richardson’s Australia Felix: money. The experiences and aspirations of a British expatriate in Australia - someone who fails in the project of immigration - hold many parallels with the experiences of both Australian and (especially) oversees students (now to be defined, however briefly, as Australian). Richardson has a troubled relationship to 'Modernism,' writing her foundational, canonic text at the wrong time and suffers from the connected problems of 'lip service' veneration and ‘benign’ neglect. The danger exists of post-colonial criticism tearing down the ‘establishment’ figure of Henry Handel Richardson, unless re-evaluation occurs, showing how she speaks to transcultural power relations and diasporic concerns.
Amrah Abdul Majid, Monash University The Influence of Islam in the Development of Agency and Hybrid Identity in Randa Abdel-Fattah’s Does My Head Look Big in This?
Randa Abdel-Fattah’s novel ’Does My Head Look Big in This?’ is a representation of second-generation Muslim girls who strongly identify themselves as both Muslims and Australians. Presenting a sixteen year-old protagonist Amal, who decides to wear the hijab to an exclusive private school in Melbourne regardless of the controversy it creates, this paper contends that Abdel-Fattah creates a protagonist whose identity formation replicates Homi Bhabha’s (2004) metaphorical description of diasporic identity as a chowder that has ‘stubborn chunks’ floating around in it. By using Saba Mahmood’s (2005) theorization of agency as a ‘modality of action’ that is achieved within and through the practices of religion, this paper argues that by positioning Islam at the centre of a life in the West, Abdel-Fattah attempts to present the practices of Islam not only as a tool of resistance, but also as a means of self-realization and for the assertion of hybrid identity. Amrah Abdul Majid is a PhD candidate at the School of Political and Social Inquiry at Monash University Australia. She is also a tutor at the National University of Malaysia. Her research is focused on the development of religious identity in the writings by Muslim women in the West. Dr Eduardo Marks de Marques, Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil From Past to Further Past: Discussing the Bicentennial Construction of Colonial History
Since the critical understanding that history is a construct and, therefore, subject to change, one needs to be aware of the implications the new forms of evaluating the historical basis of national identity affect the present. The preparations for the Australian Bicentenary in 1988 have deeply reassessed the structure and relevance of colonial history – particularly that of the “Golden Decade” of the 1890s – and the relevance of the canonical construction of that era, symbolised by Russell Ward and the constructionist historians of the 1950s (who actually defined the 1890s as a golden decade). This paper aims at analysing how the 1980s reconstructed (or deconstructed, even) the 1890s (the period per se) and the 1950s (the construction of that period) in regard to a re-evaluation of the Australian national identity.
Richard Martin, University of Queensland Culture, Literature, and the Challenge of Ethnography The capacity of a text to adequately convey the complexity of cultural life has troubled anthropologists for decades (Acciaioli 1985; Keane 1997), particularly in the face of “competition” over the representation of culture by numerous critics outside the discipline (Marcus 1998). This paper analyses two texts about Aboriginal songs or ‘songlines’ in the light of Marcus and Fischer’s (1986) call for experimentation in ethnographic writing: Bill Harney and A. P. Elkin’s collaboration on Songs of the Songmen: Aboriginal Myths Retold (1949) and John Bradley with Yanyuwa Families’ Journey to the Songlines of Carpentaria (2010). Against more popular considerations of the same theme (by Bruce Chatwin and others), Songs of the Songmen and Journey to the Songlines of Carpentaria illustrate the challenge of locating or producing an ‘authentic’ representation against the limited or inaccurate representations of others, as numerous scholars in literature, cultural studies and anthropology have argued (Hodge and Mishra 1991; Marcus 1998; Muecke 1996; Myers 2002; Trigger 1993). The shifting ways in which these texts are authored/authorised by collaborations with, on the one hand, a non-Aboriginal protector and popular writer (Bill Harney), and on the other, the subjects of the ethnography themselves (Yanyuwa families), reveals ways in which ‘Aborigines’, ‘the Aboriginal’, and ‘Aboriginality’ are signified as something more than representation, as perhaps a kind of true representation. While anthropological adjudications of cultural authenticity have been heavily critiqued by scholars in literary and cultural studies (Moreton-Robinson 2000; Wolfe 1999), I argue for renewed attention to ethnography in the study of representation, including Aboriginal representations and self-representations. Susan Martin, La Trobe University 'Staging London in the Antipodes'
This paper explores some of the ways in which Dickens' London was represented on stage and page in New Zealand and Australia. From Cockney dialects to stage and set design, Dickens' London appeared in fiction from the Antipodes and in theatrical productions of his works. This paper considers the way ideas of the city, of colony and metropole, and Englishness circulated and were negotiated around the colonies. It takes Bleak House as a case study, looking at the way this text spawned endless stage versions such as the dramatisation "Jo" which toured the colonies throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century, and was rewritten in Antipodean context in B.L. Farjeon's Grif. Sam Moginie, University of Sydney ‘We start a colony’: Michael Dransfield’s utopian project
Michael Dransfield’s legacy has recently become the subject of some attention, prompted by his omission from Gray and Lehmann’s Australian Poetry Since 1788. Missing from discussions of Dransfield’s worth are questions of history, and poetry’s place in it. This paper seeks to historicise Dransfield’s poetics, connecting them with the politicisation of young Australian men under the compulsory National Service scheme instituted in 1964. I argue that in this context, the impulse to ‘self-romanticise’ we find in poets of the Vietnam generation is a political act, even at its most solipsistic and masturbatory. In Dransfield’s case, poetry literally became the space for a radical writing of the self, beyond any sensible discourse. Dransfield’s land speculation, country houses and romances can thus be conceived of as parts of a utopian project; colonial in the sense of the artists’ colony, the nudist colony, or a colony of birds. Fiona Morrison, University of New South Wales Modernist/Provincial/Pacific: Christina Stead, Katherine Mansfield and the expatriate hometown
Rebecca Walkowitz, citing Said and others, suggests that the critical cosmopolitanism inherent in the work of several British modernists was underpinned by an awareness (among other things) of “the entanglement of domestic and international perspectives” and an “attempt to operate in the world... while preserving a posture of resistance”. Cosmopolitan modernism in these kinds of ‘critical’ robes offers a useful space in which to examine the work of settler colonial expatriate woman modernists. In particular, this paper will investigate the powerful, disruptive and often uneven return to home ground in the shape of Stead and Mansfield’s modernist narratives about their provincial cities of origin on the Pacific Rim. This paper takes as its starting point Christina Stead’s early work, Seven Poor Men of Sydney (1934). While acknowledging the pressing complications of her identification with international socialism, what kind of interpretive traction do we gain by positing Stead’s participation in both Pacific and transnational modernism in her rendition of Sydney? Katherine Mansfield’s earlier New Zealand stories will provide further and quite different material for Tasman/Pacific oriented speculation about the nature of the expatriate modernist woman’s worldly recuperation of her colonial hometown.
Catherine Noske, Monash University Re-Writing History: Versions of the Gothic in Contemporary Representations of Australian Landscape
In her depictions of that which is dangerous and frightening in the Australian environment, Barbara Baynton illustrates the darkness of the Gothic imaginary in colonial literature. But how has this carried into postcolonial representations of landscape? I will argue in this paper that contemporary constructions of landscape, influenced by the desire to move into deeper spiritual connection with the country, hold elements of a return to this imaginary. The latest adverts for South Australian tourism, for example, contain haunting images, strong with Gothic sensibilities; but re-cast them as scenes of ‘natural’, healthy lifestyle and an easy ‘being-in-place’. Using the critical theories of David Tacey, Ross Gibson and Emily Potter, I will argue that, in this way, the narratives and binaries of colonial nationalism continue into the twenty-first century; both defining and undercutting the manner in which we generate our sense of place.
Lucie O’Brien, University of Melbourne The local and transnational in Stead’s Seven Poor Men of Sydney
Christina Stead’s Seven Poor Men of Sydney is widely praised for its vivid sense of place, with many critics stressing its ‘distinctively Antipodean’ qualities. At the same time, some critics draw useful parallels between Stead’s depiction of Sydney life and the trope of flâneurie, showing how the novel casts Sydney as a cosmopolitan, international city. For Stead, city life offers a way out of colonial identity crises, in the form of a transnational modernist culture. Yet this culture centres around a leisured bourgeois intelligentsia and therefore sits uneasily with Stead’s socialism. The spatial imagery of Seven Poor Men encapsulates this tension. At once cosmopolitan and intensely localised, it reveals Stead’s modernist desire to transcend her colonial origins, but also her materialist concern with the reality of working people’s lives.
Patricia O’Brien, Georgetown University, Washington A Colony’s Colony through the eyes of Errol Flynn
In recollections of his youth, film star Errol Flynn claimed to have participated in a punitive expedition in Australia’s colony of New Guinea where the killers of four white men were rounded up and summarily hanged in a graphic display of colonial brutality. Flynn wrote “I was ready to vomit, but I stood at attention trying to hold my guts, watching the most macabre thing I have ever witnessed”. This account and its larger portrayal of Australia’s colonial rule in New Guinea in the 1920s is as provocative as it is intriguing. This paper is a history of a colony’s colony - Australia’s colony of New Guinea – and the history of a book - Flynn’s famous autobiography, My Wicked Wicked Ways. It examines Flynn’s account of New Guinea and the controversies it stirred at the time of publication and offers a more historically authorized view of what Australia’s colony of New Guinea was in the 1920s that this examination of the punitive expedition in question exposes.
Brigitta Olubas, University of New South Wales ‘The last curve of the globe’: Wellington in The Great Fire
Shirley Hazzard’s final novel, set mostly in Hong Kong and Japan, reaches its conclusion in Wellington, New Zealand, in scenes drawn, as Hazzard told The Listener’s Denis Welch, solely ‘from memory’. Based on a brief stay of two years with her family in the city, a hiatus in between Hong Kong, Australia, and the US, the novel’s conclusion takes its place within Hazzard’s own biography as a reconstruction of historical place through the lens of personal recollection. However Helen Driscoll’s arrival in Wellington also constitutes a weighted and historically coincident counterpart to Caro Bell’s wartime Sydney childhood in Chapter 3 of The Transit of Venus. From this premise of conjoint time and place framing Hazzard’s two major novels and the mobile globe they delineate, this paper will examine the distinctive ecology of her fictional, recollected Wellington. Petrina Osborne, University of Tasmania A shifting sense of home
Walkabout (1934-1974) was a popular Australian geographic magazine situated within the middlebrow. The publication aimed in part to educate the reader concerning Australia’s regional and remote landscapes, peoples and industries. A focus on the Walkabout articles, fiction and travel writing of Ion Idriess, Arthur Upfield and J.K. Ewers reveals their support for this educational crusade. Although their middlebrow writing was readily dismissed by critics, a close reading reveals how it engaged in a discourse concerning race, home and identity. These middlebrow writers examined Australia’s complex race relations and encouraged readers to re-examine their views concerning white settler history and indigenous culture. This paper examines Ewers’ attempt to shift the focus of urban readers to regional and remote Australia as a means by which a unique rather than derivative sense of home and national literature could be further developed. Ida Puspita, University of Wollongong Regions and Their Voices – ‘Voicing Change: a Comparative Reading of Selected Works by Pramoedya Ananta Toer and Katharine Susannah Prichard’
Although coming from different historical and political backgrounds, Indonesian Pramoedya Ananta Toer and Australian Katharine Susannah Prichard both have used their writing to rehearse their concerns with the social and political situations in their respective societies. In The Girl from the Coast (1987) and Coonardoo (1929), they create the setting for a staging of the effects of colonial, racial and gender ideologies on the lives of marginalised and oppressed individuals. Through the female characters of The Girl and Coonardoo respectively Pramoedya and Prichard hold up a lens to an awakening concern with minorities in specific periods in Indonesian and Australian societies. These characters serve thus as spokespersons for an agenda of social and political change that characterise the work of the authors. This paper will examine how these two novels depict marginalised groups in Indonesia and Australia and the significant role these groups play in both challenging and sustaining a national memory. To this extent it is concerned with how they are positioned as well as how they position themselves in the patriarchal and colonial societies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Pramoedya’s and Prichard’s shared perspectives on political and social matters lead to some comparable aspects in the way they depict the social dynamics in the texts. Readers are led to see the tensions between identity and class/race and family and nation through the eyes and the voices of the marginalised women characters. Martin Renes, University of Barcelona Kim Scott’s Storying: towards a Sense of Country
The victims of forced separation from kin and country, the Stolen Generations have suffered serious direct and trans-generational trauma due to their displacement into mainstream society. This has not only been documented in official reports but also in Indigenous-Australian literature, which has been a powerful, yet not unproblematic means to re-inscribe these mixed-decent Australians into an Indigenous sense of belonging and place. Kim Scott’s fiction, consisting of 3 novels including two Miles Franklin award winners, displays a hybrid Indigenous identity firmly written in place in a process of “explor*ing+ the problem of self-identity faced by light-skinned Aboriginal people and examin*ing+ the government’s assimilationist policies during the first decades of the twentieth century” (AustLit database). Un-writing past physical and epistemic violence on the Indigenous Australian population, his novels address the transcultural Australian nation-space from an embracing, inclusionary perspective, negotiating anew an older space and sense of place.
Harry Ricketts, Victoria University of Wellington Kipling and the Future of New Zealand Literature
Kipling visited New Zealand once briefly in October 1891. The trip led directly to a little-known, uncollected short story, ‘One Lady at Wairakei’, first published in the New Zealand Herald on 30 January 1892. In the story, among other things, Kipling offers an impressionistic view of contemporary New Zealand literature and, half-playfully, half-seriously, tries to imagine its literary future. This paper looks at how Kipling’s predictions appear now, argues for his own work’s (limited but not neglible) influence on that literary future and asks what, if any, impact the visit had on Kipling’s own writing.
Brigid Rooney, University of Sydney Colonising time: Steven Carroll’s reinvention of suburbia Suburbia is a familiar topos in Australian fiction. If it speaks to colonization at all, its address is mostly oblique, and yielded through its focus on the inauthenticity and restlessness of a settler modernity typically sourced in the white Anglo culture of pre 1970s decades. Yet the actual suburbs of postwar Australia are multiplicitous and shifting, always in tension with the imagined terrain of fictional suburbia. My paper presents preliminary research towards a larger project about suburbia – about literary suburbs as both real and imagined. I want to think about the suburb as a kind of laboratory for Australian fiction. In this paper I consider Steven Carroll’s fictional suburbia as it indexes real world localities, while simultaneously serving as locus for reinvention of the novel. With what effect, I ask, are its forms of interior consciousness and temporality affiliated with early 20thC European models of literary modernism? And I will examine how, in his latest volume, Spirit of Progress (2011), the narrative engages with classic Anglo-Australian suburbia as a representational field, working with and against the real of history, even as it mines the seam of suburbia as a site of both colonization and forgetting, and of longing and return. Michelle Smith, University of Melbourne A Colonial Girls’ Literary Magazine: Reading Ethel and Lilian Turner’s the Parthenon
Ethel and Lilian Turner edited and authored the sixpenny monthly magazine the Parthenon from 1889 to 1892. Despite Ethel’s place in the colonial literary canon as a result of her children’s novel Seven Little Australians (1894), the Parthenon remains unexamined and little known beyond the libel case sparked by one of its prize competitions. The Turner sisters aspired to create a distinctly Australian literary magazine that would entice readers away from English and American imports. Yet, in addition to serial fiction and poetry, the Parthenon also regularly published articles on household management and featured a children’s page. Margaret Beetham shows that the periodical form “refuses…a single authorial voice” (12) and in this paper I examine how the literary and domestic foci of the first Australian girls’ magazine variously diverge and converge to produce a colonial girl reader.
Martin Staniforth, University of Leeds Depicting the Colonial Home: Representations of the domestic in Kate Grenville’s ‘The Secret River’
This paper will consider the representation of the settler home in Kate Grenville’s The Secret River. Early colonial Australia dissolved the carceral/domestic binary, and ambiguity about the status of the home is a continuing feature of Australian historical fiction. However Kate Grenville shifts the presentation of the early colonial home in a number of ways, focussing on the convict rather than the officer house; exploring the relationships between the house and the land and between the settler and the Aboriginal domestic; tracing the shifting construction of the house from provisional and fragile to permanent and solid; and using the domestic to signal moral worth. Through these moves she seeks to re-negotiate the relationships between settlers and Aborigines and between colony and metropole. However I will argue that, despite these attempts at re-negotiation, the novel’s presentation of the domestic fundamentally reaffirms rather than challenges the myths of settler colonialism. Philip Steer, Massey University Setting Sail from National History: The Maritime Imaginary of Recent New Zealand Historical Novels
Since the politicisation of colonial history in the 1980s, the historical novel has become a prominent site of national self-reflection in both New Zealand and Australia. Recent New Zealand novels about the colonial era have moved away from an earlier narrative focus on territorial conquest and acquisition, adopting instead a “maritime imaginary” that foregrounds migration, cultural encounter and self-discovery, and the vitality of connections with Australia and Britain. I shall argue that the maritime imaginary of works such as Annamarie Jagose’s Slow Water (2003), Hamish Clayton’s Wulf (2010), and Paula Morris’s Rangatira (2011), shifts the task of the New Zealand historical novel from narrating nation formation to positioning the nation in a global context. These novels employ the ship and the voyage to articulate the utopian or marvellous possibilities of a colonial moment unrestricted by national boundaries. Privileging spatial mobility over conflict, the maritime imaginary thus seems to encourage a post-national romanticising of settlement. Kenneth Stewart, University of Sydney A Portrait of the Modernist as a Young ‘Exile’: Henry Handel Richardson and James Joyce
In the lives and writings of Henry Handel Richardson and her younger contemporary James Joyce are many significant but generally unconsidered affinities, common preoccupations, and mutually illuminating responses to the literary events and issues of their time, especially the period from the late 1890s to the early 1920s. Critical spotlights on Joyce’s exalted position on the dais of high modernism, and on Richardson’s downstage among the naturalists and realists, have blinded many of us to, for example, Joyce’s shared realism and naturalism (even, or especially, in Ulysses) and to recent claims for recognition of Richardson as a significant modernist. Richardson and Joyce, more than any other novelists writing in English in the early twentieth century, were influenced by the nineteenth century Scandinavians Jacobsen, Bjornsen and Ibsen; and by a strangely distinctive assortment of Continental writers which includes Flaubert, Nietzsche, D’Annunzio and (before his translation into English) Freud. Both writers were of Irish extraction (indeed Richardson’s father was, like Joyce and his father, a Dubliner), were non- English expatriates from British ‘colonies’, initially ambivalent towards England and its cultural traditions, and were drawn towards what we now call early modernism and its Continental exponents, while simultaneously involved in their own kinds of nationalism and anti-nationalism, and in issues relating to the religious, educational and cultural institutions of their country of birth. In this paper literary texts of Henry Handel Richardson, primarily The Getting of Wisdom will be discussed in the light shed by a comparison with some of Joyce’s, primarily A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Richardson’s literary significance and reputation, it is hoped, will be fully released from any last vestiges of the stranglehold once exerted by Australian critics such as Vincent Buckley, who once wrote that her fiction is ‘a monument to dead ideas’.
Iain Strathern, Victoria University of Wellington Tala, Talavai, Talagāgafa: Stories, Medicine, and Chanting Genealogies
The relationships between whakapapa, story and history provide the framework for this paper, along with some personal 'excerpts' from my own story of rediscovering my whakapapa. Some of the secrets or 'skeletons' which led to me not knowing my genealogy until recently, are comparable to stories written by Patricia Grace and other Māori writers. The understanding and empathy of these writers creates a balm for wounds that continue to affect the peoples of Aotearoa, a psycho-social healing through empathy.
Luke Strongman, Open Polytechnic of New Zealand ‘Shape without form, shade without colour’? Revisioning post-colonialism
The liminal zones of ‘postcolonial readings’ were imagined to posit complex interrelations and provisional but culturally poignant combinations of nations, tribes, and selves – in short, ‘identity’ – that could be perceived and understood by the literary imagination (see for example, Homi Bhabha 1994, Gayatri Spivak 1990, 1998). It was (and still is) thought that relations between inhabitants of ‘first and third’ world nations were irrevocably conditioned by the effects of colonial empire and that these could reflect socio-cultural processes that might be distinguished from the economic realities of transnational globalisation (see Pollard, McEwan, & Hughes, 2011). In postcolonial discourse, biological, psychological, human geographical and inter subjective identities were imagined to be negotiated in ways which combined a revision of what seemed to be monolithic narratives of modernism with the more frangible and fatalistic narratives of the traditional and indigenous (Said, 1980) Yet, poststructuralists such as Foucault (1969) and Derrida (1967) were pessimistic about the possibility of a normative ethics based on a universal human subject and postcolonial critics read them with little meaningful riposte in terms that could be seen to be particular to the effects of colonialism. In the late 1990s the literary-critical movement of post colonialism was arguably co-opted by poststructuralist reading strategies which intended to challenge and subvert the hegemony of Western knowledge, or postmodernist interpretations of that knowledge, by self-reflexively questioning its authority, objectivity and universality. This deflected critical attention away from the study of the literary production of novels by authors from former British colonies based on the frangibility of socio-cultural interpretations. At the same time as pointing to a celebration of difference and diversity, post-colonialism was beset by an uncertainty as to the validity of its knowledge produced from universalistic modern and particularly, western foundations. This paper argues that post-structuralism’s ‘crisis of confidence’, the realities of economic globalisation and the persistence of indigenous claims to difference, provided three enduring distractions to literary post colonialism’s continued envisioning of patterns of critical cultural understanding. Nevertheless it seems premature to assign post colonialism to a brief and mutable by-way of literary-critical history (see Mishra & Hodge, 2005), for each of these ‘chronic distractions’ are themselves amenable to a more broad and encompassing revisioning of the postcolonial paradigm. Lucy Sussex, La Trobe University ‘A Pushful New Zealander’: Fergus Hume
Fergus Hume (1859-1932) wrote The Mystery of the Hansom Cab (1886), a key novel in early detective fiction. It was a worldwide bestseller, despite its Australian setting, and the author was a young Dunedin lawyer. Famously Hume sold his copyright for £50 pounds, and never had another such success, despite writing over 100 novels. This presentation will consider Hume’s New Zealand antecedents and early career. It will also examine his relationship with the shadowy Christchurch school ‘chum’ behind the Hansom Cab Publishing Company, which boldly took on the English book trade with Hume’s work. The firm made a fortune, and then lost it. Hume, despite his popularity, has been obscured as a writer of ‘shilling shockers’. This paper intends to re-consider his reputation, the effect of the colonial (as well as literary) cringe upon him, and how much of his success he owed to his life in New Zealand. Meg Tasker, University of Ballarat A New Zealand writer in London in the 1890s: William Pember Reeves as a ‘British Australasian’ In the late 19th century, as the self-governing colonies of Australia and New Zealand were reconsidering their relationships with Great Britain and the Empire, and ideas about forms of Federation (Australian and Imperial) and Commonwealth were in the air, London was home to many who considered themselves both Australasian and British. Journalists, artists, singers, entrepreneurs, socialites, writers, and statesmen – all found themselves from time to time in the columns of the British Australasian, a “newspaper for colonists, merchants, shareholders, land selectors and emigrants” which had various titles between 1884 and 1905: the British Australasian, British Australasian, Australian Times and Anglo-New Zealander, British Australasian and Australian Mail, British Australasian and New Zealand Mail – all variations addressing a readership that was both colonial, imperial and in a less hierarchical sense, transnational; combining colonial collectivity and independence with Britishness, but with the distinctive attribute of being located in Britain while representing or belonging to the colonies of Australia and New Zealand. This paper will focus on New Zealanders in the Anglo-Australasian community who were associated with the newspaper and in particular the Agent-General for NZ, the Hon. William Pember Reevers and his wife Maude. Their life in England and as colonials abroad was not solely governed by his official post as Agent-General – they were also writers and active in the Fabian movement. This paper will consider Pember Reeves’s writings about New Zealand in the light of the hybrid cultural identities signalled both by the British Australasian newspaper and by other groups, institutions and publications identifying themselves as British outposts of Australian and New Zealand. One point to be considered is the use of the term ‘Australasian’ itself; its pros and cons from a NZ point of view. This paper is very much an exploratory part of a larger study of (mostly) Australian (mostly) writers in London 1892-1905. (Well, mostly in London!)
Lucy Treep, University of Auckland The Written Word as Outsider Architecture: A Sense of Place as Representations of Vulnerability / Resilience One way that the homeless deal with their vulnerability to harsh weather, psychological disturbance and lack of privacy is the construction of ad hoc shelters from found objects and recycled rubbish. Margaret Morton says that constructions by the homeless reveal “how human beings transform their environment so that it can help to sustain them”. As testimonies to “the powers of survival and creativity” (Morton), they are examples of outsider architecture, constructions created (and designed) in response to a need including but beyond the physical. In her novels, written in New Zealand from 1940 to 1960, Australian Eve Langley repeatedly represents her narrator as homeless and itinerant. Langley herself sought an itinerant life in an effort to live outside the social restrictions placed on women in both Australia and New Zealand in the early and middle twentieth century. I suggest that her outpouring of writing, with two published novels and eleven unpublished manuscripts extant, is fruitfully viewed in terms of outsider architecture. Fragile constructions of found and recycled writing, I suggest that her novels are assembled and formulated by Langley in response to her extreme vulnerability, providing a form of shelter, both in terms of psychological sustenance and as an illusion of permanence. In my paper I examine the archive of Langley’s writing as a form of outsider architecture in order to assess what sense of place may be derived from this construct, and to consider what this assessment may say about the current place of literature in New Zealand and Australia.
Ken Gelder & Rachael Weaver, University of Melbourne ‘Explorations in Industry’: Careers, Romance and the Future of the Colonial Australian Girl This paper examines some of the anxieties and competing narratives that accrue around the career futures of young Australian women after Federation. It introduces a series of essays published in the Lone Hand in 1908 by twenty-two year-old Beatrix Tracy, titled ‘explorations in industry’: which investigate opportunities for girls in a range of occupations, including the shop girl, the chorus girl and the domestic servant. Tracy’s perspective is both progressive – thinking about labour reforms, class distinctions, working conditions – and conservative, emphasising marriage and maternity as the Australian girl’s ultimate and necessary destination. Romantic energies are nurtured here, but also regulated: too much ‘frivolity’ and ‘vanity’ in professions mean that romance and marriage conflict with one another. The chorus girl is pitched against the domestic servant along these lines. But other narratives – especially from older women – invest in quite a different future. The paper looks at the experienced stage actor Florence Young’s essay on the chorus girl (1908), and then introduces Mabel Forrest, whose romance story ‘The Housekeeper’ (1907) contrasts a young Australian girl with a much older, worldly domestic servant. The story plays out the now-familiar narrative of the Australian girl’s marriage into the security of pastoral life; but it also stages a narrative of romantic disappointment, with the older housekeeper giving us quite a different account of what the Australian girl might become. Elizabeth Webby & Margaret Harris, University of Sydney Patrick White and Film
2011 saw the release of The Eye of the Storm, the first adaptation to the screen of one of Patrick White’s novels. There had been earlier attempts, in particular the long-running saga of Voss, seemingly as doomed to failure as the explorer’s own quest. But it has perhaps not been realised that White’s interest in the theatre was paralleled by his interest in film; he knew that adaptations could boost an author’s reputation and sales. Manuscripts in the National Library of Australia’s White papers reveal that he wrote adaptations of several of his short stories as early as 1963. He did not manage to sell any of these but collaboration with director Jim Sharman in the 1970s led to the production of White’s screenplay of his story ‘The Night, the Prowler’. Inspired by this, White wrote several original screenplays that were never filmed. The paper will focus in particular on ‘Monkey Puzzle’, a send-up of the Australian literary scene as well as of Australian films of the period.
Emily White, Victoria University of Wellington We Belong To No Soil
The attraction of the ‘post-everything’ as described in Paula Morris’s Auckland-based novel, Hibiscus Coast, suggests a response to a decreased emphasis on traditional ideas of belonging and systems of value rooted in the nation, and an exuberant openness to the rootless and the unattached. Twenty-first century New Zealand novelists such as Morris, Emily Perkins and Lloyd Jones seem determined to detach themselves from the New Zealand referent, setting their fiction elsewhere – criticism – being criticised for not being ‘New Zealand’ enough (or even Maori enough). In a country which is still concerned with the London, Bougainville, Berlin – yet they continue to grapple with the confines of nationalistic establishment of its own identity, and the ‘ownership’ of cultural markers that are all too often sourced elsewhere, resisting identification with nation becomes a kind of betrayal. I am interested to set this trend in contrast with late-nineteenth-century New Zealand writing, where national identity was seen as continuous with imperial identity, and Home was still elsewhere. Writers like Robert P. Whitworth, William Satchell and Katherine Mansfield took an English, predominantly Victorian, sensibility and style of writing, which they projected onto the New Zealand landscape. For a later generation of New Zealand this resulted in a lack of authenticity, a distance between literary mode and represented world, a lack of reality. Yet from the perspective of a writing scene which seeks to reinsert such distance, the colonials might have something to offer. In this paper I shall seek to consider how the colonial past speaks to the post-colonial and post-nationalistic present by setting Whitworth, Satchell and Mansfield beside Emily Perkins, Paula Morris and Lloyd Jones. Jessica White Since my dear Boy’s death': Grief, botany and gender in 19th Century Western Australia
In 1830, soon after her arrival on the shores of Augusta, WA, Georgiana Molloy gave birth to, and lost her first child. She was buried in a grave sown with English plants which entwined with the Australian natives. While the function of the bush grave has usually been to indicate ownership, Georgiana’s representation of the flora mingling on this grave illustrates a responsiveness to her surroundings, rather than possessiveness. This awareness became marked on the later death of her son, which prompted an obsession with collecting plants for English botanist James Mangles. However, as Georgiana's gender prohibited education in the imperialist Linnaean system for naming plants, she referred to their Indigenous names, or created her own. This engendered a relationship with her environment that was sensitive to its differences, rather than being mediated through an artificial system. Guided thus by grief and gender, Georgiana developed a singular sense of place.