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'Central to Karl Abraham and Maria Torok's metapsychological account of the Phantom is the prima facie assumption that the dead return to haunt the living because there is a debt which must be paid to them, the corollary of which, according to Slavoj Zizek, is that 'they were not properly buried' (qtd. in Davis 2). In this essay, I explore the problematics surrounding the proper (re)burial of the dead in Christos Tsiolkas' Dead Europe, whereby unearthing shameful ancestral secrets Isaac Raftis dislodges and ultimately 'exorcises' the Phantom which haunts his family line. In exploring how Isaac becomes a living repository of an( )other's trauma, that is, the trauma of Elias who was killed by Isaac's grandparents, Dead Europe exemplifies the impossibility for the living subject to divorce him/herself from the collectivity of shadows and spectres forming one's past.' (Author's abstract)
'The ghosts of Christos Tsiolkas' Dead Europe have been a key focus of its critical reception. This article offers an alternative reading of these ghosts, arguing that Tsiolkas writes trauma fiction to challenge the totalising discourse of postmodern governmentality, to assert the impossibility of an end to history, and to write fiction which haunts its readers to enact an ethical relationship with the traumatic past.' (Author's abstract)
'The influence of Nietzsche's Also Sprach Zarathustra on Christopher Brennan's poem The Wanderer has been underestimated. It is especially apparent in the epigraph, and the poems (86 and 99) which open and close the sequence. The inner quest described in The Wanderer is generally held to have been a failure, but a revaluation in the light of the Nietzschean influence, incorporating a recension of the crucial poem 99, reveals a different story. The annular nature of the quest as described in the epigraph derives from Nietzsche's notion of Eternal Return , on which he confessed Zarathustra to be founded. Themes from Zarathustra dominate poem 86, and recur in poem 99. The line in the latter 'no ending of the way, no home, no goal', which has been widely interpreted as a confession of failure of the quest, is demonstrated to have been sourced from Zarathustra, where it does not bear that inference at all, but rather of triumph over doubt. The pivotal word 'withhold' in poem 99 is shown to be used in its archaic and neutral sense of 'hold within', rather than its modern sense of 'refuse to give up'. The Wanderer's quest is a success to approximately the same degree as that of Nietzsche's hero. Such clarity as to Brennan's achievement is essential if he is to attain the global reputation which many would argue he deserves.' (Author's abstract)
'John Thompson (1907-1968) was once an influential figure in Australian literature, not only as a poet but also as a broadcaster and editor, but is now generally overlooked if not forgotten. This essay re-evaluates Thompson's career along with his poetry through his experience as a radio producer, examining his changing sense of the radiophonic possibilities of verse. It pays particular attention to the ABC's flagship poetry programme, Quality Street, which Thompson created and which lasted a remarkable twenty-seven years (1946-1973). Given that there have been conflicts from the ABC's inception between its twin roles as public educator and publicly-funded entertainer, the longevity of Quality Street suggests that Thompson managed to strike a workable balance within the broad spectrum of the 'middlebrow', which is a key term throughout. The essay concludes by considering the wider implications of this.' (Author's abstract)
'This essay argues that Roger McDonald's debut novel 1915 represents a form of literary modernism which rejects the easy aesthetic comforts of 'late colonial transcendentalism' (17). McDonald presents an intricate -- we might even say ritualised -- pattern of subversive counterpoint to 'reveal and dramatise the failure of the subject to escape its own limits, and hence its own history' (McCann 155). The result is a highly self-conscious literary novel that seeks to reconcile the art of high modernism with a postcolonial practice interested in the consequences of public memory.' (Author's abstract)
'The historical trauma of the Aborigines and white Australian nation-building are not simply contemporaneous - the latter is part of what made the former possible. The subject of black-on-black violence within Aboriginal communities has been a hot issue in Australia for the past few years, more specifically that perpetrated by Indigenous men against Indigenous women and children. The situation of many Aborigines today demonstrates a paradoxical relation between destruction and survival, the incomprehensibility at the heart of traumatic experience. Aboriginal film-maker Warwick Thornton's 2009 movie, "Samson & Delilah", tells the story of two teenagers caught up in this situation. Trauma theory, which focuses on the destructive repetition of violence is used as a tool for the analysis of this film, repetition being a structural principle in the narrative. For example, after repeating the same self-defeating ritual every day, Samson sniffs petrol to escape from the desolation and neglect, in the throes of what appears to be a post-traumatic death drive. Delilah's life is equally repetitive but less desolate until her grandmother's death plunges her into a cycle of violence and horror that also leads to petrol-sniffing and near death. But, in Thornton's fictional world, the women are the Samsons. Delilah defends herself and her intended against both white and black violence and, through 'herstory', the film-maker passes on not only the story of a crisis but that of a survival.' (Author's abstract)