“Reclaiming the rubbish”: Outcasts, Transformation and the Topos of the Painter-Seer in the work of Patrick White and David Malouf

by Michael Ackland

Settled by white convicts and often by people with few prospects in the Old World, Australia was sometimes thought of negatively as a dumping ground of miscreants and ne’er-do-wells. This paper traces how, post-war, this perception was challenged in the fiction of Patrick White and David Malouf, which depicts local versions of the outcast artist in actual rubbish dumps and the creative, regenerative transformations that can occur there.

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Theodora as an Unheard Prophetess in Patrick White’s The Aunt’s Story

by Antonella Riem Natale

This essay takes into consideration some of the themes dear to Veronica
Brady’s heart and present in her profound critical analysis of Australian literature. Veronica often read Patrick White’s work in the light of a spiritual quest and a mystical-mythical vision. Aim of this essay is to investigate how the figure of the aunt, in The Aunt’s Story (1948), embodies one of the isolated and visionary characters in White’s work who transmits a message that superficial contemporary society is unable to understand. I will show how Theodora Goodman’s role as explorer in the inner land of the Self connects her with ancient partnership (Eisler 1987), Goddess’ archetypes, in particular that of the Crone, embodying a “woman of age, wisdom and power” (Bolen 2001). This figure had an important but now forgotten role in ancient gylanic societies (Eisler 1987). Theadora, the Goddess’ gift, as the protagonist’s name should read, is a powerful reminder of the sacred spiritual function of ancient
women-priestess. Theodora is Theadora, a priestess beloved by the Goddess. Contemporary society, being unable to see beyond the ordinary, can only catalogue these sacred figures as ‘mad’.

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Multiple Homes and Unhomely Belonging

by Anne Holden Rønning

In a society where migration plays a significant role our identities become ambivalent to ourselves and only partly legible to others. This article will reflect on the role of the written word, political, social, and literary, as a narrative of multiple homes. Among the issues which determine the discourses and narratives of ‘multiple homes’ and ‘unhomely belonging’ are language and language politics (situational or real), beliefs about identities as solid and identifiable, constant border-crossings as central to many people’s lives, and the collision of social and cultural codes in the meanings and practices assigned to ‘the foreigner’.

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Reconciling Nature and Culture for an Eco-sustainable World: Zakes Mda’s The Heart of Redness

by Maria Renata Dolce

Zakes Mda’s The Heart of Redness (2000) is investigated by adopting Riane Eisler’s ‘Cultural Transformation Theory’ in order to highlight the culture-nature dialectic at the core of a novel that explores the long-lasting conflict between tradition and modernity through a distinctive South African perspective. The article shows how in Mda’s novel the notions of ‘progress’ and ‘civilization’ are called into question by denouncing the catastrophic consequences that ensue when they are blindly pursued at the expense of a respectful and harmonious cohabitation on Earth. Particular attention is given to the forms and ways in which the borders between nature and culture, tradition and progress, past and present are deconstructed and traversed within the complex narrative framework of the novel which testifies to the central and permanent concern of the writer for ethical, social and environmental issues. Mda, as I intend to demonstrate, encourages a critical re-thinking and re-orientation of ossified dichotomical oppositions and prejudiced assumptions as a necessary first step in fostering a more equitable and sustainable world so that a future of equal opportunities available to all can be re-imaged. From this perspective, fundamental is the role played by literature, language and education (Eisler 2013), a responsibility the writer fully endorses through his committed and challenging fiction.

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The Narrow Road to the Deep North and the De-sacralisation of the Nation

by Lars Jensen

Richard Flanagan’s novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North represents yet another addition to the catalogue of Australian war experience literature. The awards and accompanying praise the novel has earned since its release in 2013 reflects a widespread appreciation of its ability to reimagine Australia in a saturated terrain. Flanagan’s novel can be read as a critique of the rise of militant nationalism emerging in the wake of Australia’s backing of Bush’s ‘war on terror’ and the idea that the arrival of boat refugees requires a military and militant response. This article discusses how the novel’s shift from battle heroics to the ordeal of POWs in the Thai jungle represents a reimagining – away from the preoccupation with epic battles – but not necessarily a challenge to the overriding emphasis on baptism of fire narratives as the only truly national narratives.

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Healing, Catharsis and Reconciliation: Water as Metaphor in Ghost River

by Adelle Sefton-Rowston

This article explores the possibility of intercultural catharsis through literature, metaphorical connections and representations of place in Tony Birch’s Ghost River (2015). Water, rain and essentially the river, symbolise the building of a nation and the repair of Indigenous and non-Indigenous race relations. Aristotle’s theory of catharsis is deconstructed and built upon using Indigenous philosophies and intercultural dialogue to explore ideas about relationship building as a spiritual journey connected to the textual directions of the landscape.

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A Sacred Journey to Naples: Michelle de Kretser’s Questions of Travel

by Roberta Trapè

Within the theme of Australian Travel to Italy, the article will analyse images of Naples in Michelle de Kretser’s novel Questions of Travel (2012). It will begin with a short introduction to Australian travel and an outline of de Kretser’s journeys in Italy, as well as her comments on her Italian experiences (Trapè 2015). It will then move on to the treatment of Italy in her novel. I will analyse which views of Italy the writer presents in Questions of Travel in order to define her way of approaching and responding to this country. I will do this by focusing on her descriptions of Italy and will avail myself of the theoretical discussions of description provided by Philippe Hamon.

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Da Things Fall Apart a Il crollo: note dall’analisi della traduzione

by Giulia Costanza Caterini

This article is developed from an in fieri critique of Il crollo (1977), Silvana Antonioli Cameroni’s Italian translation of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958). Following Antoine Berman’s project for an ethical and productive translation criticism, this article focuses on the translator’s attitude towards two main topics: the unique cultural constitution of the narrator and ‘Igblish’, Achebe’s hybrid postcolonial language. Il crollo is evaluated in the light of Berman’s ethic and poetic criteria, stating the inadequacy of this translation and its failure in understanding and recreating the complexity of the source text.

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