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Australian Literature: Traditions and Revisions (ENGL2100)
Semester 1 / 2010

Texts

y separately published work icon The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea Randolph Stow , London : MacDonald , 1965 Z320676 1965 single work novel (taught in 7 units)
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.)

y separately published work icon Over the Sliprails Henry Lawson , Sydney London : Angus and Robertson Australian Book Company , 1900 Z825726 1900 selected work short story (taught in 3 units)
y separately published work icon Miss Peabody's Inheritance Elizabeth Jolley , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1983 Z796757 1983 single work novel (taught in 4 units)

'In this potent tale of love and loneliness, Elizabeth Jolley has woven two parallel stories into a dazzlingly original novel. Arabella Thorne is a brilliant, witty and accomplished woman. The exotic tale of this flamboyant eccentric and her European travels – with jealous secretary and shy schoolgirl protégée – is the inheritance that transforms the uneventful suburban life of Miss Peabody.' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon The Getting of Wisdom Henry Handel Richardson , London : Heinemann , 1910 Z901329 1910 single work novel (taught in 25 units)

'A coming-of-age story of a spontaneous heroine who finds herself ensconced in the rigidity of a turn-of-the-century boarding school. The clever and highly imaginative Laura has difficulty fitting in with her wealthy classmates and begins to compromise her ideals in her search for popularity and acceptance.' (From the publisher's website.)

y separately published work icon My Place Sally Morgan , Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 1987 Z384564 1987 single work autobiography (taught in 30 units)

'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.

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)

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)
y separately published work icon The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry John Kinsella (editor), Camberwell : Penguin , 2009 Z1553543 2009 anthology poetry (taught in 16 units)

'This is a comprehensive survey of Australian poetic achievement, ranging from early colonial and indigenous verse to contemporary work, from the major poets to those who deserve to be better recognised.' (Provided by the publisher).

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.

Description

The course examines Australian literature. Students read a selection of significant Australian literary texts from different genres, and discuss the literary, political, critical, and theoretical questions raised in these texts. The course focuses on Australian literature as a national literature that simultaneously develops and revises its literary traditions. Australian literature also responds to and revises traditions from other literatures, notably but not solely from Anglophone countries. What has preoccupied Australian literature? What has defined it? What dynamics are at work in it? Students gain an understanding of a lively national literature which looks within, questions, and debates its own history and place of origin, at the same time as it examines the relationship of Australia, and Australian literature, to the world. The diverse beginnings and trajectories of Australian literature are discussed.

Assessment

Attendance

10%

Essay 1 1500 words

30%

Essay 2 1500 words

30%

Final examination

30%

Supplementary Texts

AustLit: Online Electronic Database Resource for Australian Literature

Wilde, William, Joy Hooton and Barry Andrews. The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature. 2nd ed. Oxford: London, 1994.

Baldick, Chris. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1991.

Other Details

Offered in: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006
Current Campus: St Lucia
Levels: Undergraduate
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