Fabulating Beauty: Perspectives on the Fiction of Peter Carey

Fabulating Beauty: Perspectives on the Fiction of Peter Carey

Fabulating Beauty: Perspectives on the Fiction of Peter Carey

Fabulating Beauty: Perspectives on the Fiction of Peter Carey

Synopsis

Peter Carey is one of Australia's finest creative writers, much admired by both literary critics and a worldwide reading public. While academia has been quick to see his fictions as exemplars of postcolonial and postmodern writing strategies, his general readership has been captivated by his deadpan sense of humour, his quirky characters, the outlandish settings and the grotesqueriesof his intricate plots. After three decades of prolific writing and multiple award-winning, Carey stands out in the world of Australian letters as designated heir to Patrick White. Fabulating Beauty pays tribute to Carey's literary achievement. It brings together the voices of many of the most renowned Carey critics in twenty essays (sixteen commissioned especially for this volume), an interview with the author, as well as the most extensive bibliography of Carey criticism to date. The studies represent a wide range of current perspectives on the writer's fictions.

Excerpt

Paul Kane

In bringing together these essays and writings on the work of Peter Carey, Andreas Gaile has performed a service for which we may be grateful. This service includes the practical one of making readily available an intellectual resource for the study of Carey's work, as well as the more general service of marking a moment in the reception of Peter Carey: a collection of critical essays is a tacit acknowledgment that the academy is in fact serious about a writer. (The public's reception, of course, is another dimension.) To say this collection is overdue is redundant, since the condition of possibility for such a book is the recognition that it should already exist. As Gaile himself points out, for all the widespread attention given to Carey, this present book of essays is the first of its kind. Again, for this service we ought to be thankful.

But linked to the notion of service is the concomitant one of 'performance'. Gaile performs a service in the sense of fulfilling or carrying out what is required and expected as an established procedure. He has acted in his role as editor and has seen to it that everyone else plays his or her part accordingly. Clearly, a collection of essays is a sub-genre and, while we may not yet know the particulars of the essays contained in one, we recognize the overall structure right away and treat it as we would any familiar type of literature. That, after all, is how literature works as a system. the rules of genre allow for comprehension. With the advent of Fabulating Beauty, Peter Carey's writings are now fully implicated in this literary system – and critics, as we can see, are well along in the process of establishing what the work means and how it functions within that system. Gaile and the many fine critics and writers . . .

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