English | Studies in International English Literature
L674 | 00000 | Lloyd


Time: TBA (Section number has not yet been assigned)

TOPIC: NARRATING AUSTRALIA

This course will focus on how narrative strategies are deployed in
the pursuit of various agendas based on class, ethnicity, race, and
gender in a range of Australian novels. From Murray Bail’s
Eucalyptus, which unfolds multiple stories from a single source of
inspiration (the vast genus eucalyptus) we will move to multiple
retellings of the same stories, both Eliza Fraser’s story recounted
in broadsheets, painting, song, Nôh plays and Patrick White’s novel
Fringe of Leaves; and bushranger Ned Kelly’s story told through art,
film, and Peter Carey’s novel True History of the Kelly Gang.  As a
counterpart to these multiple representations, we will then explore
representations of the experience of the artist in Patrick White’s
The Vivisector and David Malouf’s Harland’s Half Acre. Eleanor
Dark’s modernist novel recounting a single day through multiple
perspectives, Waterway, will lead us into two novels spanning
several decades, Marian Halligan’s Lovers’ Knots and Tim Winton’s
Cloudstreet. Yasmine Gooneratne’s A Change of Skies reflects on
contemporary Australian society from the point of view of an Asian
immigrant family. We will close with four novels focusing each in
very different ways on the Aboriginal experience, Sally Morgan’s My
Place, Mudrooroo’s Master of Ghost Dreaming, Melissa Lukashenko’s
Steam Pigs and Kim Scott’s Benang.

Some of these novels are out of print, but you should be able to
locate secondhand copies of them without much difficulty through
such online book stores as Powell’s and Abe Books. A good Australian
on-line book store is Paperchain: http://www.paperchain.com.au/.
No previous knowledge of Australian literature, culture or history
will be assumed. We will be exploring these works through
narratalogical and post-colonial critical perspectives (among
others), and setting them alongside a variety of Australian films
and works of visual art. Students will be expected to participate
actively in all seminars; to give a presentation on a topic of their
choosing associated with the required reading; and to write a 15-20
page essay on a subject of their choosing (not the same as the
presentation). There will also be a short take-home final exam.

Recommended preliminary reading includes Stuart Macintyre, A Concise
History of Australia, Robert Hughes, The Fatal Shore, Susan
Sheridan, Along the Faultlines: Sex, Race and Nation in Australian
Women’s Writing, Leela Gandhi, Postcolonial Theory: A Critical
Introduction, A. Bery and P. Murray, Comparing Postcolonial
Literatures. I shall be setting up a website for this course with
the address www.iub.edu/~downund.