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Introduction to Australian Literature (ENGL1004)
Semester 1 / 2009

Texts

y separately published work icon The Aunt's Story Patrick White , London : Routledge , 1948 Z470389 1948 single work novel (taught in 27 units)

'With the death of her mother, middle-aged Theodora Goodman contemplates the desert of her life. Freed from the trammels of convention, she leaves Australia for a European tour and becomes involved with the residents of a small French hotel. But creating other people's lives, even in love and pity, can lead to madness. Her ability to reconcile joy and sorrow is an unbearable torture to her. On the journey home, Theodora finds there is little to choose between the reality of illusion and the illusion of reality. She looks for peace, even if it is beyond the borders of insanity.' (From the publisher's website.)

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y separately published work icon The Slap Christos Tsiolkas , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2008 Z1739894 2008 single work novel (taught in 40 units)

'At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own.

'This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the event.

'In this remarkable novel, Christos Tsiolkas turns his unflinching and all-seeing eye onto that which connects us all: the modern family and domestic life in the twenty-first century. The Slap is told from the points of view of eight people who were present at the barbecue. The slap and its consequences force them all to question their own families and the way they live, their expectations, beliefs and desires.

'What unfolds is a powerful, haunting novel about love, sex and marriage, parenting and children, and the fury and intensity - all the passions and conflicting beliefs - that family can arouse. In its clear-eyed and forensic dissection of the ever-growing middle class and its aspirations and fears, The Slap is also a poignant, provocative novel about the nature of loyalty and happiness, compromise and truth.' (Publisher's blurb)

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y separately published work icon True Country Kim Scott , Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 1993 Z165486 1993 single work novel (taught in 30 units) 'Billy is drifting, looking for a place to land. A young school teacher, he arrives in Australia's remote far north in search of his own history, his Aboriginality, and his future. He finds himself in a region of abundance and beauty but also of conflict, dispossession and dislocation. On the desperate frontier between cultures, Billy must find his place of belonging.' (Source: Fremantle Press website)
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y separately published work icon My Brilliant Career Miles Franklin , Edinburgh London : William Blackwood , 1901 Z161522 1901 single work novel (taught in 56 units)

'My Brilliant Career was written by Stella Franklin (1879-1954) when she was just nineteen years old. The novel struggled to find an Australian publisher, but was published in London and Edinburgh in 1901 after receiving an endorsement from Henry Lawson. Although Franklin wrote under the pseudonym 'Miles Franklin', Lawson’s preface makes it clear that Franklin is, as Lawson puts it 'a girl.'

'The novel relates the story of Sybylla Melvyn, a strong-willed young woman of the 1890s growing up in the Goulburn area of New South Wales and longing to be a writer.' (Publication summary)

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Description

A study of Australian literary as well as some visual and filmic texts, by way of introducing the diversity of Australian cultural production. From early travel writing through to contemporary novel and film, this course will provide and introduction to the stories Australians have told and been told, and provide a framework for thinking about Australian culture and history, past and present.

Assessment

750 word essay (15%), 1500 word essay (35%); Examination (with take home option) (40%); Tutorial participation (10%).

Supplementary Texts

Day, David - Claiming a Continent: a New history of Australia, Harpercollins 2005.

Baynton, Barbara - Bush Studies, Angus and Robertson 2001.

Lawson, Henry - Short Stories (Penguin Henry Lawson), Penguin 1986.

Other Details

Texts studied may include Henry Lawson - While the Billy Boils, Barbara Baynton - Bush Studies, Henry Handel Richardson - The Getting of Wisdom, Miles Franklin - My Brilliant Career (alongside film by Gillian Armstrong), Patrick White - The Aunt's Story, Andrew Mc Gahan's - The White Earth as well as a selection of Australian short fiction and poetry.

Levels: Undergraduate
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