Creating Place Out of Space: Early Australian Literature

Course title: Creating Place Out of Space: Early Australian Literature
Instructor: Dr. Tihana Klepač, Assoc. Prof.

ECTS credits: 6
Language: English
Status: elective
Enrolment requirements: enrolment in 3rd or 5th semester
Course requirements: continuous assessment; regular attendance, work in class, 1 written assignment, mid-term and end-term exam.
Course description: Selected texts exemplify the creation of place out of space on the Australian continent. The course traces the formulation of the Australian national Self from the first descriptions of landscape worlding (Spivak) Australia, introducing the country into cultural circulation, to the acceptance of geographical and historical particularities, coming to terms with inherited ways of representing the continent and the nation, to the emergence of national consciousness in late 19th century and the formulation of the nation through novels which are postulated as the culmination of the national impulse. The course thus outlines the process whereby an unknown and distant land becomes a home.
Objectives: The objective of the course is to awaken the students’ awareness of the ways in which narrations formulate the national self by exploring the example of early Australian literature.
Course requirements: The final grade is based on continuous assessment which includes regular attendance, preparation for and participation in class, writing small assignments, timely submission of the final paper, and obligatory sitting for midterm and endterm exam. Students must meet all requirements of continuous assessment.

Week by week schedule:
Introduction to the history and culture of Australia

Representing a New World: 1789 – 1850;
Australia as a Land of Oddities

Worlding of the continent (Spivak); James Cook’s diaries, travel writing by Australian inland explorers: Edward Eyre, Charles Sturt (excerpts)

The Colonial Period 1850 – 1890; British penal system; Governor Phillips’s diary; films: Discovery: Short History of the World – Convict Australia, Timewatch: The Floating Brothel
Narratives of crime and punishment, influence of environment on the character; the formulation of national characteristics; Marcus Clarke: For the Term of His Natural Life, Rolf Boldrewood: Robbery Under Arms (excerpts)

«Damned Whore» vs. «God’s Police» – representation of women in Australian; film Timewatch: The Floating Brothel
Literature by women: interventions in the romance, as the genre available to women writers, to discuss the position of women, marriage and often the very conventions of the genre; Ada Cambridge: A Marked Man (excerpts)

Imitating Victorian models: sonnets, love poems; abandoning the Victorian model, description of bushrangers in blank verse; early formulation of national symbols: the spell of the bush, the bush grave; poetry: Harpur, Kendall, Gordon, Ada Cambridge (selected poems)

Mid-term exam
The Nationalist Period 1890 – 1922; development of cities: Sydney, Melbourne; the role of The Bulletin, Angus & Robertson and the Heidelberg school of painting

Abandoning the conventions of romance and melodrama, readers are no longer British consumers of exotic stories about the colonies. Representation of Australia “from within”; ideas about Australian landscape and the national character; ballad: Paterson: “The Man from Snowy River”; excerpt from the film The Man from Snowy River, 1982, director: George Miller

Short story: Henry Lawson, Barbara Baynton (selected stories)

WEEK 12 – 13
Novel as a form of nation building – Novels of the Federation; Miles Franklin: My Brilliant Career; film: My Brilliant Career, 1979, director: Gillian Anderson; Joseph Furphy: Such is Life (excerpts)

End-term exam.

Due to unavailability of reference material, all relevant texts are contained in Early Australian Literature Reader and contains texts from the following editions:

– Paul Carter, The Road to Botany Bay, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1988
– Robert Hughes, The Fatal Shore, Vintage, New York, 1988
– Elizabeth Webby, “Introduction” and “Colonial writers and readers,” The Cambridge Companion to Australian Literature, Elizabeth Webby (ed.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp. 1-18 and 50-74
– Kerryn Goldsworthy, “Fiction from 1900-1970,” The Cambridge Companion to Australian Literature, Elizabeth Webby (ed.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp. 105-109
– Anne Summers, Damned Whores and God’s Police, The Colonization of Women in Australia, Penguin, London, 1981
– Susan Sheridan, Along the Faultlines – Sex, Race and Nation in Australian Women’s Writing, Allen & Unwin, St. Leonards, 1995
– Leigh Astbury, City Bushmen, The Heidelberg School and the Rural Mythology, Oxford UP, Melbourne, 1985