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Australian Literature: Traditions and Revisions (ENGL2100)
Semester 1 / 2013


y separately published work icon His Natural Life For the Term of His Natural Life Marcus Clarke , 1870-1872 Z1032375 1870-1872 single work novel (taught in 15 units)

'Scarcely out of print since the early 1870s, For the Term of His Natural Life has provided successive generations with a vivid account of a brutal phase of colonial life. The main focus of this great convict novel is the complex interaction between those in power and those who suffer, made meaningful because of its hero's struggle against his wrongful imprisonment. Elements of romance, incidents of family life and passages of scenic description both relieve and give emphasis to the tragedy that forms its heart.' (Publication summary : Penguin Books 2009)

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 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 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 Doctor Wooreddy's Prescription for Enduring the Ending of the World Colin Johnson , Melbourne : Hyland House , 1983 Z383558 1983 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 5 units)

'The young Wooreddy recognised the omen immediately, accidentally stepping on it while bounding along the beach: something slimy, something eerily cold and not from the earth. Since it had come from the sea, it was an evil omen.

Soon after, many people died mysteriously, others disappeared without a trace, and once-friendly families became bitter enemies. The islanders muttered, 'It's the times', but Wooreddy alone knew more: the world was coming to an end.

In Mudrooroo's unforgettable novel, considered by many to be his masterpiece, the author evokes with fullest irony the bewilderment and frailty of the last native Tasmanians, as they come face to face with the clumsy but inexorable power of their white destroyers. ...' (Source: Goodreads 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 The Penguin Henry Lawson : Short Stories Henry Lawson , John Barnes (editor), Ringwood : Penguin , 1986 Z282880 1986 selected work short story humour (taught in 8 units)
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.' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon Paese Fortunato : Romanzo Rosa R. Cappiello , Milan : Feltrinelli , 1981 Z1081324 1981 single work novel (taught in 1 units) Depicting 'migrant life in Sydney...Rosa Cappiello follows the tormented lives of a random group of European women, from their incarceration in a hostel to their struggles in a series of derelict rooms and flats. They keep in touch with each other not through affection or genuine solidarity but purely through need, to escape their own desolation and solitude...This unusual and disconcerting view of migrant life does not aim to stand in judgment or reveal general truths on Australian conditions and society. It is instead a subjective account with a universal application, relating not just to Italian migrants in Australia but to all migrants everywhere. The characters are victims less of their new environment than of the circumstances which led them to seek change; ultimately they are the victims of their own natures and of the inevitable discrepancy between dream and reality.' (Source: dustjacket, Oh Lucky Country, 1984 edition)


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.