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mercredi 4 juillet 2012

Article: Big Father Is Watching You – A Postcolonial Reading of Peter Kocan’s Total Institution Novellas


Bonjour à tous, 

Dernier article paru à New York dans Antipodes: A Global Journal of Australian/New Zealand Literature, une interprétation postcoloniale des romans d'institutions totalitaires de Peter Kocan... Un sacré lascar, puisqu'il fût condamné pour la tentative d'assassinat d'un homme politique, une peine qui fut commuée en séjour asilaire, inspiration des ses romans. 

Dans le prochain numéro de décembre 2012, c'est mon entretien avec Sallie Muirden qui sera publié. Bonne lecture aux bilingues:



The June 2012 Antipodes will contain interviews with Tim Winton and the late Laurie Clancy; fiction by Lara S. Williams and Kevin Roberts; articles by Salhia Ben-Messahel (on Winton), James Dahlstrom (on Rolf Boldrewood), Amanda Kane Rooks (on Aboriginal anthologies), Sue Ryan-Fazilleau (on aboriginality in film), Peter Mathews (on James Cowan), Jean-François Vernay (on Peter Kocan), and Shaoyang Zhang (on Kevin Hart and Georges Bataille); plus creative nonfiction by Brenda Walker and memoir by Laurie Hergenhan.
  


Big Father Is Watching You –
A Postcolonial Reading of Peter Kocan’s Total Institution Novellas
Jean-François VERNAY
Abstract:
Peter Kocan went down in the history of Australian literature for having written a pair of companion semi-fictions largely inspired from his experience as an inmate when his life imprisonment sentence was commuted to a ten-year confinement in a psychiatric institution. The Treatment (1980) and its sequel The Cure (1983) are classic asylum narratives chronicling Len Tarbutt’s institutionalization – a nineteen-year-old youngster confined in the maximum-security cell of a mental hospital to serve a life sentence. On another level, these two second person narrations can be construed as a national allegory of Australian historic convictism explicating the ruler-ruled relationship through the establishment of a panoptic repressive system.

Keywords:
total institution fiction; panopticism; imperialism; psychiatry; convictism; resistance 
Text:

Born in 1947, Peter Kocan went down in the history of Australian fiction for having written a pair of companion novellas that are largely inspired from his experience as an inmate when he was incarcerated at Long Bay Correctional Center (Sydney) and then confined in Ward 6 for the Criminally Insane in Morrisset Psychiatric Hospital (New South Wales). When he turned 19, he attempted to shoot dead the then-leader of the Australian Labor Party Arthur Calwell with a sawn-off .22 rifle. At the time of trial, he was diagnosed as a borderline schizophrenic and condemned to life imprisonment, a sentence which was commuted to ten years of treatment that gave him an insider’s knowledge of psychiatric institutions.
Published after a time when asylum narratives were starting to make their mark in Australian fiction with novels such as David Ireland’s The Flesheaters (1972) and Walter Adamson’s The Institution (1976), The Treatment (1980) and its sequel The Cure (1983) chronicle Len Tarbutt’s institutionalization – a nineteen-year-old youngster confined in the maximum-security cell of a mental hospital to serve a life sentence. On another level, these two second person semi-fictions can also be interpreted as a national allegory of Australian penal settlement, which explicates the ruler-ruled relationship through the establishment of a panoptic repressive system.

More here: “Big Father is Watching You – A Postcolonial Reading of Peter Kocan’s Total Institution Novellas”. Antipodes: A North American Journal of Australian Literature 26: 1 (New York), juin 2012, 59-63.

The December 2012 Antipodes will contain articles by Oliver Haag and Danica Cerce (on aboriginality); creative nonfiction by Angelina Saule and Bev Braune; an interview of John Hughes by Stephen Mansfield; articles by Mansfield on Hughes, George Watt on Patrick White, Binoy Kampmark on the Northern territory intervention, and Luma Balaa on Lebanese-Australian literature, and Jean-François Vernay in conversation with Sallie Muirden. 

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