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Australian Literature 1960-1988 (ASLT2602)
Semester 2, Summer Semester / 2009

Texts

y separately published work icon Tourmaline Randolph Stow , London : MacDonald , 1963 Z865108 1963 single work novel (taught in 5 units)

'Once prosperous, the town of Tourmaline in outback Western Australia is dying. The mines are drying up and the land is riddled by drought. Those townspeople left have little to do but wile away the hours with drink.

'Salvation of sorts arrives in the form of Michael Random, a mysterious water diviner who emerges from the desert. As the town's reluctant messiah Random begins to spread the word of Christ. Desperate for a reprieve, many of the locals are drawn to his teachings, but a stubborn few remain sceptical of their new leader.

'A post-apocalyptic parable, Tourmaline is Randolph Stow's most allusive and controversial novel. It remains a landmark in Australian literature more than half a century after its first publication.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Text Classics).

y separately published work icon The Transit of Venus Shirley Hazzard , New York (City) : Viking , 1980 Z391036 1980 single work novel (taught in 6 units)
y separately published work icon Wild Cat Falling Colin Johnson , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1965 Z203627 1965 single work novel (taught in 13 units)

'Wild Cat Falling is the story of an Aboriginal youth, a 'bodgie' of the early sixties who grows up on the ragged outskirts of a country town, falls into petty crime, goes to gaol, and comes out to do battle once more with the society who put him there. Its publication in 1965 marked a unique literary event, for this was the first novel by any writer of Aboriginal blood to be published in Australia. As well, it is a remarkable piece of literature in its own right, expressing the dilemmas and conflicts of the young Aboriginal in modern Australian society with its memorable insight and stylishness.' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon The Solid Mandala Patrick White , London : Eyre and Spottiswoode , 1966 Z479719 1966 single work novel (taught in 5 units)
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

This unit of study aims to introduce some of the key writers of this period. It will also encourage students to develop reading skills appropriate to different genres and to acquire an awareness of issues, movements and critical debates that have been central to the development of recent Australian literature.

Assessment

One 1500 word essay (mid-semester, 30%), one 3000 word take-home exam (end-of-semester, 70%)

Supplementary Texts

Vintage Course Reader will include short stories from Moorhouse, Carey, Garner as well as the poetry that will be covered in this unit of study.

Other Details

Levels: Undergraduate
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