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Journeys of Healing (ENGL6953)
Semester 1 / 2011

Texts

y separately published work icon Reading by Moonlight : How Books Saved a Life Brenda Walker , Camberwell : Hamish Hamilton , 2010 Z1678187 2010 single work autobiography (taught in 2 units)

'The first time Brenda Walker packed her bag to go into hospital, she wondered which book to take with her. As a novelist and professor of literature, her life had been built around reading and writing. Now she was also a patient, being treated for breast cancer, fighting for her life and afraid for herself and her family. But turning to medicine didn't mean she turned away from fiction. Books had always been her solace and sustenance, and now choosing the right one was the most important thing she could do for herself.

'In Reading by Moonlight, Brenda describes the five stages of her treatment and how different books and authors helped her through the tumultuous process of recovery. As well as offering wonderful introductions and insights into the work of writers like Dante, Tolstoy, Nabokov, Beckett and Dickens, Brenda shows how the very process of reading - surrendering and then regathering yourself - echoes the process of healing.

'Reading by Moonlight guides, reassures, throws light on dark places, and finds beauty in the stories that come to us in times of jeopardy. It affirms that reading can be essential to life itself.' (From the publisher's website.)

y separately published work icon Hiam Eva Sallis , St Leonards : Allen and Unwin , 1998 Z804000 1998 single work novel (taught in 4 units)
form y separately published work icon Beneath Clouds Ivan Sen , ( dir. Ivan Sen ) Sydney : Autumn Films , 2001 Z1440560 2001 single work film/TV (taught in 12 units) Blue eyed, fair skinned Lena is the daughter of an Aboriginal mother, living in a small country town. She longs for the romantic ideal of her absent father and his Irish heritage. When her home life feels set to implode, she hits the road with little money, a backpack and a photo of her dad. When Lena misses her bus to Sydney, she meets up with Vaughn, an Aboriginal teenager who has run away from a minimum-security prison in the desperate hope of reaching his ill mother. Vaughn is hardened by his anger at the world. Initially the two reluctant travelling companions are suspicious and wary of each other, but their journey, mostly by foot and the odd lift, builds an understanding between them. -- Libraries Australia
y separately published work icon Benang : From the Heart Kim Scott , Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 1999 Z135862 1999 single work novel (taught in 31 units) 'Oceanic in its rhythms and understanding, brilliant in its use of language and image, moving in its largeness of spirit, compelling in its narrative scope and style, Benang is a novel of celebration and lament, of beginning and return, of obliteration and recovery, of silencing and of powerful utterance. Both tentative and daring, it speaks to the present and a possible future through stories, dreams, rhythms, songs, images and documents mobilised from the incompletely acknowledged and still dynamic past.' (Publisher's website)
form y separately published work icon Samson and Delilah Warwick Thornton , ( dir. Warwick Thornton ) Scarlett Pictures CAAMA Productions , 2009 Z1561915 2009 single work film/TV (taught in 9 units)

'Samson and Delilah tells the story of two Aboriginal teenagers in a remote community. They live in a sparse environment but one that absorbs all manner of cultural influences, where dot painting and country music exist side by side. Samson gets through his days by sniffing, while Delilah is the caregiver for her nana before taking a moment for herself to listen to Latino music. Their journey ranges across many of the most urgent issues concerning Indigenous people in Australia, homelessness, poverty, domestic violence and substance abuse, but it does so with tenderness, dignity, and even humour.'

Source: Adelaide Film Festival website, www.adelaidefilmfestival.org/ Sighted: 23/02/2009

y separately published work icon To the Islands Randolph Stow , London : MacDonald , 1958 Z320065 1958 single work novel (taught in 5 units)

'To the Islands concerns the ordeal of Stephen Heriot, an elderly, careworn, and disillusioned Anglican missionary who abandons his mission when he mistakenly believes he has accidentally killed one of his Aboriginal charges in a not entirely unprovoked confrontation. Heriot flees into the desert not to escape justice but to embrace its desolate beauty and its elemental purity as the one objective reality and the one certainty left available to him.

Heriot's flight and his embrace of the desert may be seen as his attempt, as a European Australian, to immerse himself in the landscape, to make himself one with the land. At this realistic level, the novel enacts the ontological and existential dilemma that confronts most — if not all — European Australians, the dilemma that Professor Hassall [in his introduction to the 2002 UQP Australian Authors version] defines as the continuing quest for psychic integration, for reconciliation with indigenous Australians, and with the land itself.'

Wells-Green, James. [Untitled Review.] JAS Review of Books 15 (May 2003)

y separately published work icon Tiger's Eye : A Memoir Inga Clendinnen , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2000 Z282560 2000 selected work autobiography short story prose (taught in 6 units)
y separately published work icon Craft for a Dry Lake Kim Mahood , Sydney : Anchor , 2000 Z997375 2000 single work autobiography (taught in 4 units) In Craft for a Dry Lake, Kim Mahood embarks on an extraordinary journey to her heartland - the outback of her youth. Compelled to revisit the haunts of her childhood by the tragic death of her father, Kim seeks to lay his ghost to rest, but instead finds herself faced with many of her own. Her adventures are interwoven with the echoes of childhood memories and peopled by an intriguing cast of outback characters. At times the lines between past and present become blurred as a daughter travels in the footsteps of her father, searching for a sense of place in this landscape she once called home. (Source: Trove)

Description

This unit of study introduces some complex, (largely) contemporary, Australian texts that deal in various ways with traumatic journeys through physical and psychological landscapes towards a sense of personal reconciliation. It will encourage students to: reflect on how they understand the relationship between narrative and healing; appreciate the ways in which various Australian writers address issues of gender, ethnic and race politics; and identify ways in which these writers address broader national concerns of rupture and healing in Australian imaginings.

Assessment

1 x 5000 word essay

Other Details

Offered in: 2010
Current Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Levels: Postgraduate
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