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Australian Narrative: The Modernist Impulse (ENG3215)
2009

Texts

y separately published work icon The Model : Selected Writings of Kenneth Seaforth Mackenzie Kenneth Mackenzie , Richard Rossiter (editor), Nedlands : UWA Publishing , 2000 Z26904 2000 selected work short story poetry biography criticism extract (taught in 1 units)

'Kenneth Seaforth Mackenzie died prematurely at the age of 41 in 1955, having published two collections of poetry and 4 novels, his work anticipating the forces of modernism in Australian life and literature. This collection includes both published and unpublished works and a biographical essay.' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon The Long Prospect Elizabeth Harrower , London : Cassell , 1958 Z453910 1958 single work novel (taught in 2 units)

'Sharply observed, bitter and humorous, The Long Prospect is a story of life in an Australian industrial town.

'Growing up neglected in a seedy boarding house, twelve-year-old Emily Lawrence befriends Max, a middle-aged scientist who encourages her to pursue her intellectual interests. Innocent Emily will face scandal, suburban snobbery and psychological torment.' (Publication summary : Text Classics)

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y separately published work icon Prelude to Christopher Eleanor Dark , Sydney : P. R. Stephensen , 1934 Z824226 1934 single work novel (taught in 22 units)

'Should a woman bear a child knowing that there are traces of insanity in her family? Linda Hainlin, niece of a famous biologist, was aware of the danger when she married Dr. Nigel Hendon, a practical idealist, whose creed was normality and the rational ordering of the world. This book tells how, years later, while temporarily deprived of her husband's sane companionship, Linda feels the oncoming of those homicidal impulses which presage madness. On this tragic theme, 'Prelude to Christopher' is written with strong literary art as a narrative of four days of crisis. The story goes back in memory to the happiness of Linda's love for Nigel, and forward in her frightened imagination to a future from which the strongest must flinch. Christopher, the unborn child, dominates terrific events in which he has no living part to play. The prelude to his birth is told with emotional power.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

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y separately published work icon Brumby Innes, and Bid Me to Love Katharine Susannah Prichard , Katharine Brisbane (editor), Sydney : Currency Methuen Drama , 1974 Z169610 1974 selected work drama (taught in 8 units)

'Written in the 1920s, Brumby Innes confronts the turbulent relations between the sexes and the races in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia. It is published with another Prichard play from the 1920s, Bid Me To Love which, by contrast, is set among the fashionable rich in the lush hills outside Perth.'

'The two plays are compelling for their dramatic styles and for their insight into the novels which followed: Coonardoo and Intimate Strangers. And both had to wait more than forty years for their first production.' (Source: Reading Australia website)

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y separately published work icon The Penguin Best Australian Short Stories Mary Lord (editor), Ringwood : Penguin , 1991 Z307411 1991 anthology short story extract humour satire crime historical fiction (taught in 1 units)
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y separately published work icon Tirra Lirra by the River Jessica Anderson , South Melbourne : Macmillan , 1978 Z300858 1978 single work novel (taught in 19 units)

'Liza used to say that she saw her past life as a string of roughly-graded balls, and so did Hilda have a linear conception of hers, thinking of it as a track with detours. But for some years now I have likened mine to a globe suspended in my head, and ever since the shocking realisation that waste is irretrievalbe, I have been careful not to let this globe spin to expose the nether side on which my marriage has left its multitude of images.

'Nora Porteous has spent most of her life waiting to escape. Fleeing from her small-town family and then from her stifling marriage to a mean-spirited husband, Nora arrives finally in London where she creates a new life for herself as a successful dressmaker.

'Now in her seventies, Nora returns to Queensland to settle into her childhood home.

'But Nora has been away a long time, and the people and events of her past are not at all like she remembered them. And while some things never change, Nora is about to discover just how selective her 'globe of memory' has been.

'Tirra Lirra by the River is a moving account of one woman's remarkable life, a beautifully written novel which displays the lyrical brevity of Jessica Anderson's award-winning style.' (Publication summary)

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Description

A study of the rise of modernism in Australian narrative literature, including prose, drama and poetry. The emphasis is on hybrid fictional texts that exemplify realist-modernist characteristics. Formal and thematic issues are examined within a broad social and literary context.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the social and literary context that gave rise to modernism;

2. recognise the formal characteristics of modernist literature;

3. understand the thematic concerns of literary modernism;

4. demonstrate a knowledge of key Australian literary texts;

5. appreciate the links between literary theory and literary modernism.

UNIT CONTENT

1. The social, cultural and literary origins of modernism.

2. The tensions between realism and modernism in Australian narrative.

3. The critical response to modernism in Australia.

4. Intimations of postmodernism.

Assessment

Essay 1 - 30%

Essay 2 - 30%

Examination - 40%

Other Details

Levels: Undergraduate
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