Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE The Postcolonial Novel (Australian)

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit examines the development of the Australian novel within the context of the British settlement of the land, the emergence of nationalism, the assertion of cultural independence, and contemporary concepts of identity. The following novels will be for detailed study: Patrick White's Fringe of Leaves (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics: 1993); David Malouf's The Conversations at Curlow Creek (Vintage: 1997); and Peter Carey's Jack Maggs (Vintage: 1999).

Other recommended texts may include: Patrick White - Voss; David Malouf - An Imaginary Life; Remembering Babylon; Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang; Randolph Stowe - Tourmaline; Thomas Keneally - The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith; and A Family Madness.

Study-unit Aims:

- Present three major novelists from Australia;
- To teach the most important thematic concerns of Patrick White, David Malouf, and Peter Carey;
- To demonstrate convergences and divergences between the set texts;
- To examine the narrative techniques used by the three writers and to show these these as responses to the literary representation of Australia in colonial English literature;
- To teach the critical terms required for the literary analysis of the postcolonial novel.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Understand the development of the novel form in Australia;
- Appreciate A Fringe of Leaves; The Conversations at Curlow Creek; Jack Maggs;
- Discern the literary treatment of political and social concerns in Australian writing;
- Identify the influences between the texts studied, or how they converge or diverge in their literary construction of Australia.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Understand how social and political concerns shape the novel in Australia and other postcolonial places;
- Discern the literary techniques employed by writers in developing a literature that can stand against representations from Britain and the west;
- Produce advanced textual / critical commentary upon selected texts from the literature studied.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Text/s:

- A Fringe of Leaves
- The Conversations at Curlow Creek
- Jack Maggs

Supplementary readings:

- Elizabeth Webby The Cambridge Companion to Australian Literature (Cambridge Companions to Literature) (Cambridge UP 2006).
- Bruce King The New English Literatures: Cultural Nationalism in a Changing World (St Martin’s Press: 1980).
- Susan Ballyn et al (eds.) Changing Geographies: Essays on Australia (University of Barcelona: 2001).
- Bruce Bennett et al (eds.) Resistance and Reconciliation (Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies: 2003).
- Brian Kiernan Patrick White (Macmillan: 1980).
- Carolyn Bliss Patrick White's Fiction (Macmillan Studies in Twentieth Century Literature) (Macmillan: 1986).
- Amanda Nettleback (ed.) Provisional Maps: Critical Essays on David Malouf (University of Western Australia: 1994).
- Ivor Indyk David Malouf (Oxford Australian Writers) (Oxford UP: 1993).
- Andreas Gaile (ed) Fabulating Beauty: Perspectives on the Fiction of Peter Carey (Cross/Cultures 78 ) (Rodopi: 2005).


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Stella Borg Barthet

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