'Don’t Take Your Love to Town is a story of courage in the face of poverty and tragedy. Ruby recounts losing her mother when she was six, growing up in a mission in northern New South Wales and leaving home when she was fifteen. She lived in tin huts and tents in the bush and picked up work on the land while raising nine children virtually single-handedly. Later she struggled to make ends meet in the Koori areas of Sydney. Ruby is an amazing woman whose sense of humour has endured through all the hardships she has experienced.' (Source UQP website: www.uqp.uq.edu.au)
'With humane irony the Western Australian poet, Jack Davis gives a painful insight into the process of colonisation and the transformation of his people.'
'The Dreamers is the story of a country-town family and old Uncle Worru, who in his dying days, recedes from urban hopelessness to the life and language of the Nyoongah spirit which in him has survived 'civilisation'.' (Currency Press website)
'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)
'Patrick White's brilliant 1961 novel, set in an Australian suburb, intertwines four deeply different lives. An Aborigine artist, a Holocaust survivor, a beatific washerwoman, and a childlike heiress are each blessed—and stricken—with visionary experiences that may or may not allow them to transcend the machinations of their fellow men. Tender and lacerating, pure and profane, subtle and sweeping, Riders in the Chariot is one of the Nobel Prize winner's boldest books. (Publication summary)
Ballad opera (in two acts).
The lively and light-hearted story concerns a rich uncle (Sir Samuel Simile) who mistakenly believes that his nephew is going to marry a 'native' girl when the lad is in fact to marry Susan Hearty - a currency lass (white girl born in Australia). The uncle is put through a good deal of torment before being told of his error.
Geoghegan wrote The Currency Lass for Tilly Jones, a popular young actress who was also among the first citizens to be born in Australia. There is, however, no record of her ever having appeared in any of the three 1844 Victoria Theatre productions. Although now recognised as historically significant, The Currency Lass did not fare as well as other productions presented by Samuel Lazar at the Royal Victoria during the same year. More popularly received, for example, were plays such as Humphrey Clinker (farce), Twins of Warsaw, Sworn at Highgate, The Beehive (musical farce), The Executioner, Aladdin, Turning the Tables, and Geoghegan's big success, The Hibernian Father.
The fourteen songs used in the original production had new lyrics set to pre-existing tunes, as is traditionally the case with the ballad opera style (see note below). The melodies used were mostly from traditional Irish, English or Scottish songs, with the choice of material sometimes undertaken with a degree of deliberate humour. In his preface to the 1976 Currency edition Roger Covell points for example to the air 'A Fine Old English Gentleman' (the melody comes from an Irish dialect song) which Geoghegan uses to recall the supposed golden age of English gentry. Covell also suggests that the actor playing the role of Susan requires agility and accuracy in both her singing and dancing (these are sometimes required with much vigour at the same time). This is particularly the case in a pivotal scene in Act Two where she performs a sequence of five characterised songs and dances. Although many of the songs used by Geoghegan are no longer well-known, several tunes are still reasonably recognisable today - these being, 'Malbrook' (a French melody used by English-speaking people when they sing 'For He's a Jolly Good Fellow'); 'Over the Hills and Far Away' (from John Gay's The Beggar's Opera); and 'The Lincolnshire Poacher' (its melody is also used for the Australian folksong, 'The Murrumbidgee Shearer').
The 1966 Jane Street production was part of a trilogy of plays used to launch the company's season of Australian drama. The other two plays were I've Come about the Assassination by Tony Morphett, and The Pier by Michael Thomas. All three plays utilised members of the same company. The 1989 Q Theatre production, which kept the lighthearted, comic feel of Geoghegan's original, cast Aboriginal actor Justine Saunders in the role of the bigoted uncle, Samuel Similie, in an attempt to re-orientate Goeghegan's theme towards one of race. The stage also featured a ground plan of Aboriginal dots and circle motifs.
'"I lost my own father at 12 yr. of age and know what it is to be raised on lies and silences my dear daughter you are presently too young to understand a word I write but this history is for you and will contain no single lie may I burn in Hell if I speak false."
'In TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG, the legendary Ned Kelly speaks for himself, scribbling his narrative on errant scraps of paper in semi-literate but magically descriptive prose as he flees from the police. To his pursuers, Kelly is nothing but a monstrous criminal, a thief and a murderer. To his own people, the lowly class of ordinary Australians, the bushranger is a hero, defying the authority of the English to direct their lives. Indentured by his bootlegger mother to a famous horse thief (who was also her lover), Ned saw his first prison cell at 15 and by the age of 26 had become the most wanted man in the wild colony of Victoria, taking over whole towns and defying the law until he was finally captured and hanged. Here is a classic outlaw tale, made alive by the skill of a great novelist.' (From the publisher's website.)
'In 1982, Sally Morgan travelled back to her grandmother's birthplace. What started as a tentative search for information about her family, turned into an overwhelming emotional and spiritual pilgrimage. My Place is a moving account of a search for truth into which a whole family is gradually drawn, finally freeing the tongues of the author's mother and grandmother, allowing them to tell their own stories.' Source: Publisher's blurb.
This course will introduce students to a sample of texts from Australian literature with an emphasis on twentieth century works, and those by or about Indigenous peoples of Australia. It will: develop skills of reading, writing and analysis; encourage debate about current theoretical discourse, particularly that of postcolonial literary studies; foster awareness of the politics of representation in Australian writing.
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