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Bill Ashcroft Bill Ashcroft i(A24528 works by) (a.k.a. W. D. Ashcroft)
Born: Established: 1946 ;
Gender: Male
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Works By

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1 Australia : Transnational or Transnation? Bill Ashcroft , 2020 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 20 no. 2 2020;

'The world is now characterised by unprecedented global mobility and the corresponding hysterical protection of national borders. Australianists have begun to investigate Australia’s place in this scene of border crossing and mobility, both in terms of the crossing of Australia’s own borders and the transnational identity of Australian writing. On the face of it the ‘transnational’ character of the Australian population may be supported by its diverse origins, its propensity to travel, and by its government’s necessary engagement both with countries in the Asia-Pacific region and those powerful states whose relationship must be carefully balanced. However this paper proposes a different way of approaching this issue, in the concept of the Transnation, which is composed of the everyday movements of national subjects around the structures of the state. The term ‘transnation’ refers to much more than ‘the international’, or ‘the transnational’, which might rather be conceived as a relation between states, a crossing of borders or a cultural or political interplay between national cultures. The transnation is the circulation of populations around the structures of the state. Consequently, literature, the repository of cultural memory, so often misconceived in national terms, may be seen to be the province of the transnation.' (Publication abstract)

1 Rewriting History: 'Gould's Book of Fish' Bill Ashcroft , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: Richard Flanagan : Critical Essays 2018; (p. 87-101)
1 Magda Meets Theodora : Language and Interiority in The Aunt’s Story and In The Heart of the Country Bill Ashcroft , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , February vol. 33 no. 1 2018;

'In ‘Orders of Discourse’ Foucault raises the deeply embedded opposition between reason and folly: ‘From the depths of the Middle Ages a man was mad if his speech could not be said to form part of the common discourse of men’. This discursive rule becomes magnified in the case of women and of the colonised. In Coetzee’s In the Heart of the Country and Patrick White’s The Aunt’s Story, Magda and Theodora demonstrate the precarious marginality of the colonial woman. They are doubly marginalised as colonial women, existing outside settler history, which is the narrative both of the masculine responsibilities of settlement and an attendant sense of displacement. In Coetzee’s novel, Magda plays out a version of The Tempest in which she is subjected both to the Law of the Father and to Caliban, while in The Aunt’s Story Theodora plots a determined path out of the discourse of men into the ambivalently liberating horizon of madness. The differences between the women say as much as the similarities, but both offer a compelling version of the layered marginalities of the female colonial subject. In the writers’ hands the place outside discourse, the peculiar language of the colonial women, becomes the potential location of counter discourse. This essay proposes that the women demonstrate a radical interiority, a capacity to inhabit the lives of others in a way that is considered madness but which enacts the utopian function of literature itself.' (Publication abstract)

1 A Climate of Hope Bill Ashcroft , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Le Simplegadi , November vol. 17 no. 2017; (p. 19-34)

Postcolonial ecocriticism has emerged gradually over the last couple of decades as the differences between postcolonialism and environmentalism have been overcome. Those differences have centred on an assumed conflict in the way the two discourses see the world. However, the colonial roots of environmental degradation and the growing postcolonial critique of the effects of imperialism have seen a growing alliance focused in the discipline of postcolonial ecocriticism. Postcolonial critique and environmentalism have found common interest in the role of imperialism and capitalism in the rapidly degrading anthropocene. However critique has not often led to a clear vision of a possible world. This paper suggests a new alliance – between postcolonial critique, environmentalism and utopianism – one that emerges from the postcolonial realisation the no transformation can occur without the hope inspired by a vision of the future. The paper asks what literature can do in an environmental struggle in which colonized peoples environmental struggle in which colonized peoples are among the worst affected. The role of postcolonial literature provides a model for the transformative function of the creative spirit in political resistance. No true resistance can succeed without a vision of change and literature provides the most powerful location of that vision – no transformation can occur unless it is first imagined.

1 The Horizon of the Future Bill Ashcroft , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 74 no. 1 2014; (p. 12-35)
1 4 y separately published work icon Patrick White Centenary : The Legacy of a Prodigal Son Cynthia Van Den Driesen (editor), Bill Ashcroft (editor), Newcastle upon Tyne : Cambridge Scholars Press , 2014 7902410 2014 anthology criticism

'This volume marks the birth centenary of a giant amongst contemporary writers: the Australian Nobel prize-winning novelist, Patrick White (1912–1990). It proffers an invaluable insight into the current state of White studies through commentaries drawn from an international galaxy of eminent critics, as well as from newer talents. The book proves that interest in White’s work continues to grow and diversify.

'Every essay offers a new insight: some are re-evaluations by seasoned critics who revise earlier positions significantly; others admit new light onto what has seemed like well-trodden terrain or focus on works perhaps undervalued in the past—his poetry, an early short story or novel—which are now subjected to fresh attention. His posthumous work has also won attention from prominent critics. New comparisons with other international writers have been drawn in terms of subject matter, themes and philosophy.

'The expansion of critical attention into fields like photography and film opens new possibilities for enhancing further appreciation of his work. White’s interest in public issues such as the treatment of Australia’s Indigenous peoples, human rights and Australian nationalism is refracted through the inclusion of relevant commentaries from notable contributors.

'For the first time in Australian literary history, Indigenous scholars have participated in a celebration of the work of a white Australian writer. All of this highlights a new direction in White studies – the appreciation of his stature as a public intellectual. The book demonstrates that White’s legacy has limitless possibilities for further growth.' (Publisher's abstract)

1 Water Bill Ashcroft , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Tim Winton : Critical Essays 2014; (p. 16-48)

'In Dirt Music, remembering the time before a car crash took the lives of his brother Darkie, Darkie's wife Sal, and their two children, Bird and Bullet, Luther Fox recalls Bird's question : 'Lu, how come water lets you through it?' Bird is the one who saw God, and 'if anyone saw God it would likely be her. Bird's the nearest thing to an angelic being.' Bird's question suggests the function of water in Winton's novels. Water is everywhere in his writing, as people sail on it, dive into it, live on the edge of it. Clearly the sea and the river are vital aspects of the writer's own experience. But water is more than an omnipresent feature of his writing and his life, the oceanscape of his stories. It is something that 'lets you through'. It lets you through because it is the passage to a different state of being, sometimes in dream, sometimes in physical extremity, but always offers itself as the medium of transformation. When it lets you through - whether to escape to a different life, as a rite of passage to adulthood, to see the world in a new way or to discover the holiness of the earth or the wonder of the world, whether it is the baptismal water of redemption to an opening to a world of silence - and it is all these things- you become different.' (Author's introduction 16)

1 David Malouf and the Poetics of Possibility Bill Ashcroft , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 14 no. 2 2014;

'The essay addresses the poetic dimension of David Malouf's novels, suggesting that a poetics of possibility can be found in all his work. The poetics of possibility is a function both of Malouf’s thematic interest in the future and of his use of poetic language to draw the reader to imagine various kinds of ways of experiencing and knowing the world. The essay draws upon the philosophy of Ernst Bloch to illuminate the utopian dimension of Malouf’s work, whether in seeing the radiance of possibility in simple objects, the silent ‘presence’ at the centre of language, or the possibility of a different kind of future that Australian society might have experienced.' (Publication abstract)

1 Material Resonance : Knowing before Meaning Bill Ashcroft , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Decolonizing the Landscape : Indigenous Cultures in Australia 2014; (p. 107-128)

'WHAT IS IT TO KNOW WHAT WE KNOW? I want to talk about what we can know about the other in the interstices of cultures, in that contact zone in which subjects are mutually transformed. In particular I want to talk about the space that lies just beyond interpretation, beyond the boundary of that product we call 'meaning' to see how we might know the unknowable, might 'know' the Indigenous experience of the world, a form of knowledge outside, perhaps, the boundaries of our epistemology. I say 'beyond' but it may be better understood as a communication that occurs before the interpretation of meaning, in a non-hermeneutic engagement with the materiality of the text. '

Source: Paragraph one (p.107).

1 Horizons of Hope Bill Ashcroft , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Patrick White Centenary : The Legacy of a Prodigal Son 2014; (p. 22-42)

'There is no clearer demonstration of the fact that reading is a social and historical act than the reception of Patrick White. The relationship between reader and writer, or reader and text, is never innocent, but reflects the social concerns of the time. With literature and literary analysis, it also reflects the concerns dominating the institutions of literary criticism. White's work entered Australian literary culture at a time when the country was experiencing a post-war nationalist resurgence, leading up to the establishment of a chair of Australian literature at Sydney University — the first such chair, and the belated recognition that Australia did have a literature, and, indeed, was experiencing a birth into respectability —just as hunger for an Australia literature of world stature was growing.

' (Introduction)

1 Beyond the Nation : Australian Literature as World Literature Bill Ashcroft , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Scenes of Reading : Is Australian Literature a World Literature? 2013; (p. 34-46)
1 1 y separately published work icon Literature for Our Times : Postcolonial Studies in the Twenty-First Century. Bill Ashcroft (editor), Ranjini Mendis (editor), Julie McGonegal (editor), Arun Mukherjee (editor), Amsterdam New York (City) : Rodopi , 2012 Z1872103 2012 anthology criticism 'Literature for Our Times offers the widest range of essays on present and future directions in postcolonial studies ever gathered together in one volume. Demonstrating the capacity of different approaches and methodologies to 'live together' in a spirit of 'convivial democracy', these essays range widely across regions, genres, and themes to suggest the many different directions in which the field is moving. Beginning with an engagement with global concerns such as world literatures and cosmopolitanism, translation, diaspora and migrancy, established and emerging critics demonstrate the ways in which postcolonial analysis continues to offer valuable ways of analysing the pressing issues of a globalizing world. The field of Dalit studies is added to funda¬mental interests in gender, race, and indigeneity, while the neglected site of the post¬colonial city, the rising visibility of terrorism, and the continuing importance of trauma and loss are all addressed through an analysis of particular texts. In all of these ap¬proaches, the versatility and adaptability of postcolonial theory is seen at its most energetic' (Publisher website).
1 1 Australian Transnation Bill Ashcroft , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 71 no. 1 2011; (p. 18-40)
'The world is more mobile than it has ever been and in many different fields, most notably literary studies, it has led to a growing, and now well established interest in cultural and ethnic mobility, diaspora, transnational and cosmopolitan interactions. This rise in global mobility at the same time as state borders have become more hysterically protected, has interested post-colonial cultural critics for some time. The concept of the nation, or at least the nation state, has often been robustly critiqued because the post-colonial nation is marked by disappointment, instituted on the boundaries of the colonial state and doomed to continue its oppressive functions. Almost universally the nation is contrasted with "the transnational" and the global movement of peoples. It is held to be a fixed entity, a pole of attraction or repulsion orienting transnational relationships at state level. But if we distinguish the nation from the state we discover that mobility and border crossing are already features of the phenomenon we call nation.' (Author's introduction)
1 Introduction Bill Ashcroft , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Textus : English Studies in Italy , May-August vol. 24 no. 2 2011; (p. 213-224)
1 Australian Literature and Alternative Modernities Bill Ashcroft , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Change - Conflict and Convergence : Austral-Asian Scenarios 2010; (p. 80-93)
Bill Ashcroft explores the 'somewhat outrageous idea of Australia as an alternative modernity'. He states: 'This appears absurd on the face of it because Australia is a westernised, developed nation. It appears even more absurd as we emerge out of eleven years of slavish adherence to American unilateralism. Therefore, I realise that I am walking on very thin ice here. However, the habit has been to think of alternative modernities as alternative to the West...' (p. 81)
1 Madness and Power : Lilian’s Story and the Decolonized Body Bill Ashcroft , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Lighting Dark Places : Essays on Kate Grenville 2010; (p. 55-72)
'Bill Ashcroft has provided a new reading of Lilian's Story that emphasizes the resistant power of narrative itself, a reading that uses postcolonial theory to tease out the ways in which Lilian's feminist appropriation of power (most dramatically from her father Albion, as representative of patriarchal Darwinian and imperial discourse and practices) enables her to "find" both her body and her voice...' (Kossew, 'Introduction' xv-xvi)
1 Reading Post-Colonial Australia Bill Ashcroft , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Postcolonial Issues in Australian Literature 2010; (p. 15-37)
1 Is Australian Literature Post-Colonial? Bill Ashcroft , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Modern Australian Criticism and Theory 2010; (p. 1-13)
The author demonstrates 'just a few ways in which Australian literary culture may be read in a post-colonial way, by addressing three critical post-colonial discourses: place, with its attendant principles of boundaries, mapping and naming; language; and history.' Source: Modern Australian Criticism and Theory (2010)
1 The Presence of the Sacred in Patrick White Bill Ashcroft , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Remembering Patrick White : Contemporary Critical Essays 2010; (p. 95-108)
'It was once said by W.B. Yeats that artists arc the antennae of society, and Australian writers have been alert to a dimension of the sacred that seems to lie beyond the edge of the nation's secular consciousness. Conventional religious observance has never occupied a prominent place in Australia's national culture. But the striking feature of Australian art and writing is the extent to which it has produced a sense of the sacred that seemed denied in cultural life. A radical transformation of the sacred began to occur in that art and writing in the nineteenth century, a transformation originating squarely in the colonial encounter with a new and threatening land, best described by the terms, exile, displacement, unheindichkeit — an encounter steeped in awe and uncertainty, question and discovery. Australian artists and writers found a language with which to consider the incomprehensible vastness of Australian space. This was the language of the sublime. It was not the vertical sublime of mountains and gorges, storms and tempests, of the European Romantics, but a 'Horizonal Sublime' focused on the vastness, the openness, the distance of Australia, the psychic line of its endless horizon.' Although most noticeable in painting, it also characterized the attempt by nineteenth-century writers to produce an aesthetic that could fully apprehend the way in which Space had overwhelmed History in the Australian imagination.' (Introduction)
1 The Sacred in Australian Culture Bill Ashcroft , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Sacred Australia : Post-Secular Considerations 2009; (p. 21-43)