Australian Literary Studies

Scholarly journal publishes critical essays and reviews on Australian literature.

Articles from Vol. 23, No. 2, October

'Are You Weaker Than a Woman, Weaker Than Even a Mother?' Abjection and Infanticide in Dead Europe and Drift
After talking to a number of people about [Dead Europe] I noticed that their bodies reacted with a shudder. Anecdotally, I heard that one colleague passed the book to another, because she didn't want her hands to touch it again or to have it 'festering'...
Contemporary Poetry and the Sacred: Vincent Buckley, Les Murray and Samuel Wagan Watson
VINCENT Buckley's Golden Builders and Other Poems (1976) is an important poetic experiment in its direct and exulted address to the city and to the sacred. The city is Melbourne in which Buckley lived, worked and wrote for forty years. In the original...
Fold in the Map: Figuring Modernity in Gail Jones's Dreams of Speaking and Elizabeth Knox's Dreamhunter
IN the late 1980s Elizabeth Webby and I edited two anthologies of fiction by women writers from both sides of the Tasman: Happy Endings (1987) and Goodbye to Romance (1989). Elizabeth Webby has been one of very few academics in Australia or New Zealand...
Foreword
What, we wonder, could possibly be new about reckoning? We do it all the time--compulsively. Stocktaking, mustering, surveying, shepherding, accounting, evaluating, appraising and forecasting: these comprise the ceaseless cultural and, in Australia,...
Greeks and Moderns: The Search for Culture in the Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918
THE Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918 provided Australians with an opportunity to assert the significance of their history to an international as well as a domestic audience. C.E.W. Bean, the architect, general editor and principal...
Henry Lawson and the 'Pinker of Literary Agents'
FIRST of all, get a good agent--and trust him with your soul, and let him alone. In 1902 that was Henry Lawson's advice to any aspiring Australian writer who was planning to go to London, as he himself had done two years earlier. It was advice based...
'I Shall Tell Just Such Stories as I Please': Mary Fortune and the Australian Journal
I have been told by some that I tell horrible stories, and by others that I am not sensational enough; and I have personally come to the conclusion that I shall tell just such stories as I please, and that those who do not like them need not read them;...
Judith Wright and the Temporality of Composition
TIME precedes Judith Wright two important times. The first instance is the Platonic epigram that precedes The Moving Image, her first collection of poetry published in 1946: 'Time is a moving image of eternity'. In this way, Wright's entry into the...
Professing the Popular: Political Fiction Circa 2006
THE Australian's so-called 'Patrick White hoax' of July 2006, a dramatic confirmation of what Mark Davis has called the 'decline of the literary paradigm', spoke to the fears of many people with a professional investment in Australian literature and...
Remembering the War: Australian Novelists in the Interwar Years
AMONGST the sombre records of war in the stacks at the Australian War Memorial, a couple of bays of shelves stand out, filled with colourful books with equally colourful titles: Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Flesh in Armour, The Turkish Spy. These are...
Spatialising Experience: Gail Jones's Black Mirror and the Contending of Postmodern Space
We have been told, however, that we now inhabit the synchronic rather than the diachronic, and I think it is at least empirically arguable that our daily life, our psychic experience, our cultural languages, are today dominated by categories of space...
Suburban Sonnets: 'Mrs Harwood', Miriam Stone and Domestic Modernity
IN 1959 in Tasmania, an unknown poet called Gwen Harwood started a guerilla war on incompetent literary editors by sending out her poems under male pseudonyms. As she had suspected, poems by 'Walter Lehmann' and 'Francis Geyer' were more readily accepted...
'That Wild Run to London': Henry and Bertha Lawson in England
HENRY Lawson had hoped for recognition by the British literary world, and felt that his two-year stay in England was the 'high tide' of his literary career. But he also later referred to it as 'that wild run to London that wrecked and ruined me' ('The...
The Modernist Sacred: Randolph Stow and Patrick White
WHEN, in Randolph Stow's novel Tourmaline, the people of the eponymous country town in Western Australia anxiously encounter the mystical stranger arriving in their midst, a representative moment of literary modernism in Australia is created. The protagonist's...
The Traumas of Translation and the Translation of Trauma: Translation and Cultural Plurality in Fremd and Yasbincek
How would it be to read literally David Malouf's injunction to cease 'seeing [Australia] as ... a second-hand Europe', and to replace it with a vision of Australia as 'a Europe translated--not just transported, but translated' (Interview 289)? Malouf's...
Unbecoming Australians: Crisis and Community in the Australian Villa/ge Book
IN 2000 Delia Falconer wrote an article in The Australian's Review of Books giving an overview of the vogue in travel writing for what she dubbed the 'villa book': Once upon a time ... there is a man; he is English, middle-aged, recently retired...
'Will This Be Your Poem, or Mine?' the Give and Take of Story
THE question of who owns story is perhaps best addressed by telling story. In 'Poems of the River Wang,' Rosemary Dobson tells this story of Wang Wei and P'ei Ti: Two poets walking together May pause suddenly and say, Will this be your poem,...