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y separately published work icon JASAL periodical issue   peer reviewed assertion
Alternative title: Literary Expatriation
Issue Details: First known date: 2019... vol. 19 no. 1 2019 of JASAL est. 2002 JASAL
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Literary expatriation as a practice, but also topic of curiosity, discussion and scholarly enquiry, is deeply entrenched in Australian cultural life. For well understood historical and geographic reasons, the need for travel is embedded in Australians, and for generations of creative individuals it has been the norm to turn travel from their homeland into long term absence.' (Paul Genoni and Tanya Dalziell, 'Introduction')


* Contents derived from the 2019 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Elsewhere : On Not Being Home—Creativity as Expatriation, Susan Johnson , single work criticism
'So here we are, alive in this mythical place, not Kalymnos, the first island on which Charmian Clift and George Johnston lived in the Aegean, but Hydra, that many-headed monster that wooed and seduced and repelled and wounded so many. ‘Oh, Leonard Cohen’s house is just up the road. You must go and see it,’ someone said to me. ‘There are old people still alive who knew the Johnstons,’ said someone else. I read recently a newspaper article about the death of that famous Cohen muse, Marianne Ihlen, and the story was accompanied by a black and white photograph of Cohen playing a guitar, a woman with her eyes closed resting up against him. ‘Cohen with his girlfriend Marianne when they lived on Hydra in the early ‘60s,’ reads the caption, except it’s not his blond Norwegian girlfriend Marianne Ihlen with her eyes closed, a rapturous expression on her face, but Australian writer Charmian Clift.' (Introduction)
Exile’s Return : Change Was in the Air, Andrew Taylor , single work criticism
'In September 1963 I boarded the ship, the Fairsky, in Port Melbourne, and waved goodbye to my parents and my girlfriend. I was 23 years old and leaving Australia for the first time. The Fairsky was one of many ships that had served in the Second World War and then been repurposed in the immediate post-war years. In this case, she had served for both the USA and Royal navies, firstly as USS Barnes and then as HMS Attacker, before being converted initially for use as a cargo carrier (the Castel Forte), and eventually undergoing another major refit for passenger use in 1957, from which she re-emerged as Fairsky.' (Introduction)
Home Away from Home : The Curious Case of Diplomats, Margaret Barbalet , single work criticism
'This paper addresses a particular form of life writing by expatriates, the memoirs of diplomats. The diplomatic memoir is an emerging and particular genre of life writing that adds a surprising facet to the rich field of narratives of expatriation. As will be discussed, it is, in some ways, a form of life writing of uncertain promise, hedged about as it is with an array of constrictions that are difficult to escape. In this discussion of Australian diplomatic memoirs I will include some of my own recollections and diary accounts drawn from my experience as a career diplomat.' (Introduction)
The Internationalists : Australian Writers and Contemporary Greece, Anne Pender , single work criticism

'The expatriate Europeans, Australians, New Zealanders and Americans who lived on the Greek island of Hydra in the 1950s and ’60s were a mix of fiction writers, poets, musicians, painters, journalists and photographers. Politically, many of them would have described themselves as internationalists. George Johnston wrote his novel My Brother Jack (1964) while he and Charmian Clift lived on Hydra, and with it he said he rediscovered Australia.

'The contemporary Australian writers Susan Johnson and Meaghan Delahunt have each been inspired in their own work by the fiction and memoir of Johnston and Clift. Both Johnson and Delahunt have spent long periods of their lives as expatriates themselves, living in the UK and other parts of Europe. In spite of the achievements of Johnson and Delahunt as novelists, their writing has been largely overlooked by critics. This article examines their work in relation to expatriatism, internationalism and the politics of contemporary Europe.

'The article examines Susan Johnson’s reimagining of the lives of George Johnston and Charmian Clift in The Broken Book (2004) in 2019, 50 years after Clift’s death. It also explores Delahunt’s To the Island (2011), which is set on Naxos. The essay articulates the ways in which Johnson and Delahunt have internationalised Australian literature as a direct result of their expatriate experiences.' (Publication abstract)

Humanitarian Aid Among Aegean Neighbours : Joice NanKivell Loch’s A Fringe of Blue, Tanya Dalziell , single work criticism

'Joice NanKivell Loch’s life was dedicated to helping others. It was a role she wrote about in her autobiography, A Fringe of Blue (1968), which she completed with assistance from friends while recovering after a bad fall from a worm-eaten balcony of the Byzantine tower on the Athos peninsula in eastern Greece where she had lived for most of the preceding four decades. This essay thinks concurrently about her two commitments—to writing and to humanitarian work—as they come together in A Fringe of Blue. Of particular interest are long sections of NanKivell Loch’s autobiography that have as their focus her experiences in the Aegean, where she made her home and found herself a neighbour to refugees she had initially set out to assist.'  (Publication abstract)

Three Ways of Looking at Kalymnos : Charmian Clift’s Differing Versions of One Greek Island, Shilo Previti , Jamie Walters , David Roessel , single work criticism
'In 1951, married Australian writers Charmian Clift and George Johnston, feeling stifled by postwar conservatism, left Sydney behind to find a more ‘authentic’ way of living. They went first to London, the mecca for Australian literary expatriates, where there was no shortage of work and culture, but where they quickly felt trapped by the ‘rat-race’ mentality of a modern city. So in 1954 they left again, this time for the Greek islands, disposing of material possessions and cutting many of their personal ties. Hoping for a permanent shift from mundane to romantic, they embraced the shining ideals offered by Greek island life: other-worldly beauty; ‘simple’ Greek lifestyles, and freedom from the many pressures of the ‘real’ world.' (Introduction)
An Expatriated Adventurer : Charmian Clift and the Utopian Possibility, Susan Carson , single work criticism

'For 20 years Charmian Clift wrote fiction and non-fiction from locations in Australia, England and Greece. When she returned to Australia from Greece in 1964, she explored new career opportunities in newspapers and television. Throughout this long period of publication Clift worked on an autobiographical fiction that she hoped to publish when time permitted. This paper examines the dimensions of a utopian spirit that supported Clift’s journey across countries and genres in search of an authorial self in which she felt most ‘at home. Travel memoir, journalism and fiction, as well as extracts from Clift’s unfinished autobiographical work ‘The End of the Morning,’ are examined to describe her engagement with utopian principles as a way of achieving, through writing, social change and personal fulfilment.' (Publication abstract)

Charmian Clift, Brenda Chamberlain, and the Dichotomous Freedom of Hydra, Paul Genoni , single work criticism

'This essay draws a comparison between two published memoirs of participants, both of them women writers, in the Hydra expatriate community of the 1950s and ’60s: Australian Charmian Clift’s Peel Me a Lotus, and Welsh artist and writer Brenda Chamberlain’s A Rope of Vines. As memoirs of female experience on Hydra the two texts have elements in common, but the contrasts are also stark. Whereas Clift focused on family life, the bucolic harbourside agora and the boisterous life of the taverns and kafenia, Chamberlain represented herself as being alone and declared, ‘the port and the people on it do not interest me.’ For Chamberlain, the dockside was a place of ‘unreal glamour’ that deadened her creative spirit as surely as it deflected Hydra’s international visitors from understanding the true nature of the island they superficially embraced.

'This essay discusses both Clift’s and Chamberlain’s responses to Hydra, examining how despite the differences in their memoirs, both writers can be seen to be working at a resolution of the conflicting aspects of Hydra the town and Hydra the island, as each woman struggles in her own way to realise the promise of ‘freedom.' (Publication abstract)

The Ghikas House on Hydra : From Artists’ Haven to Enchanted Ruins, Helle Goldman , single work criticism

'Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas (1906–1994) achieved international renown in the 1950s as the foremost Greek painter of his generation. His grand family home on the island of Hydra became a destination for numerous visiting painters and writers, including Henry Miller, Patrick Leigh Fermor, John Craxton, and Sidney and Cynthia Nolan. Some stayed for extended periods and produced important work there; others, such as George Johnston and Charmian Clift, visited it for social engagements. When the mansion burned down in 1961, by which time a colony of expatriate artists and writers had been established on the island, Ghikas left Hydra and the house was never rebuilt. This essay reflects upon Ghikas’s home, and the hospitality and intellectual and creative company offered there, by considering what Cynthia Nolan, the Johnston-Clifts, Miller, Leigh Fermor and others have written about it in their letters and books. The house is gone but it remains as a literary construct as well as a mystery-shrouded ruin that serves as a poignant reminder of a significant period in the island’s modern history.' (Publication summary)

A Lens on Leros : The Poet as Iconographer, Jena Woodhouse , single work criticism

'The focus of this essay is on the presence and significance of Leros in the poetry of Dimitris Tsaloumas. Of particular interest is the quality and agency of light; and the inclusion of Greek Orthodox references and imagery in many of his poems. These corporeal and incorporeal aspects of that island are those which Tsaloumas internalised as integral elements of his identity long before he embarked on what was to be a protracted period of voluntary exile. During his years in Australia, which contributed new input to enrich and expand his personal and poetic consciousness, Tsaloumas never lost sight of his original reference points: the natural and cultural context of Leros, and the spiritual precepts with which he was imbued by the Greek Orthodox Church.' (Publication abstract)

In Transit : Migration and Memory in the Writings of Martin Johnston and Dimitris Tsaloumas, Julian Tompkin , single work criticism

'In August 1964 Martin Johnston boarded the Ellinis in the port of Piraeus, destined for Sydney, Australia, bringing to an end his 14-year estrangement from the land of his birth. Johnston, who had lived abroad most of his life in England and Greece, would return as a literal migrant to his own country. It was a theme that would prove fecund and deeply allegorical for the then 17-year-old son of authors George Johnston and Charmian Clift, later manifesting in his poetic works such as In Transit: a sprawling 14-part paean to Johnston’s immutable sense of displacement.

'A little over a decade before, in 1952, Greek poet Dimitris Tsaloumas would complete the same metamorphic journey, fleeing his Dodecanese homeland and arriving in Melbourne, Australia where he would take up the uneasy mantle of Australia’s Hellenic poet in exile. Despite parabolic overtures of assimilation, paradoxical themes of longing and dislocation pockmark Tsaloumas’s vast canon, tethering an uneasy union between his two divergent worlds both ancient and contemporary; familiar and profoundly alien.

'This essay explores the lives and comparative themes of exile in the works of both Johnston and Tsaloumas—writers who both identified as Xenos, a Greek word that translates as both ‘guest’ and ‘stranger’—and investigates the often incorporeal, irredeemable and contradictory natures of nostalgia and belonging.' (Publication abstract)

Telling Spaces: Reading Randolph Stow’s Expatriation, Kate Noske , single work criticism

'Randolph Stow’s expatriate novels, Visitants (1979), The Girl Green as Elderflower (1980) and The Suburbs of Hell (1984) are often read as emerging from specific experiences in Stow’s expatriate life, beyond Australia—the two former as his ‘fever’ novels, informed by his work and illness in the Trobriand Islands and subsequent recovery in England; and the latter carrying the experience of an event from Stow’s Australian past into the setting of Harwich, England, where he lived from the early 1980s until his death in 2010. I have discussed elsewhere the overt connection in The Suburbs of Hell to Australia (Noske, ‘Chatter’), but it is also possible to read in the earlier texts connections with Stow’s life in Australia, particularly in his representation of landscape. Reading The Girl Green as Elderflower in this context opens interesting possibilities in understanding the spaces constructed within. This article will argue that Stow’s writing in the novel presents a complex transnationalism, one which challenges extant critical responses to Stow’s expatriation. It reads Stow’s place-making as embracing a fluidity that allows him to actively respond to postcolonialism as a global phenomenon and in doing so, examine Australian spaces through the lens of expatriation.' (Publication abstract)

Silvia Cuevas-Morales : A Chilean-Australian Expatriate Writer?, Michael Jacklin , single work criticism

'In March 2015, the Guardian online re-posted an editorial by Mawuna Remarque Koutonin titled ‘Why are white people expats when the rest of us are migrants?’ The entry prompted a digital storm of nearly 3,000 comments questioning the connotations of race surrounding the term ‘expatriate.’

'In the context of Australian literature, ‘expatriate’ is used without complication to refer to authors who choose to live overseas. A search of the AustLit database identifies 370 expatriate writers; the first three listed are Peter Carey, Peter Porter, and Clive James—all of whom are white. Do we assume that Australian expatriate writers are born in Australia, grow up Australian, speaking and writing English before leaving to live and write overseas? If so, does this mean that a migrant to Australia cannot also become an Australian expatriate writer?

'Born in Chile, Silvia Cuevas-Morales lived in Australia for 24 years before deciding to move to Spain. In Australia, her poetry was published in English in literary journals. She also wrote in Spanish and in the 1990s she was editor of several bilingual collections of Hispanic–Australian poetry. Since leaving Australia, she has published seven volumes of poetry. Although Cuevas-Morales became an Australian citizen at age 21, she does not appear in AustLit as an ‘expatriate’ author. Is it because of her place of birth? If so, why is British-born author Tobsha Learner—who lived in Australia from age 19 to 35, and who now lives in the USA—identified as an expatriate? Is the discrepancy because of race? Or is it culture and language?' (Publication abstract)

This essay argues that expanding the category of ‘expatriate’ to include Cuevas-Morales and others can significantly broaden our understanding of the transnational cultural production to which Australians from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds contribute.

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Last amended 11 Nov 2019 10:05:36