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Murray-Mallee imaginaries: towards a literary history of a region

Potter, Emily and Magner, Brigid 2018, Murray-Mallee imaginaries: towards a literary history of a region, Journal of the Association for the study of Australian literature, vol. 1, no. 18, pp. 1-18.

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Title Murray-Mallee imaginaries: towards a literary history of a region
Author(s) Potter, EmilyORCID iD for Potter, Emily orcid.org/0000-0002-4171-3002
Magner, Brigid
Journal name Journal of the Association for the study of Australian literature
Volume number 1
Issue number 18
Start page 1
End page 18
Total pages 18
Publisher Association for the study of Australian literature
Place of publication Sydney, N.S.W.
Publication date 2018
ISSN 1833-6027
Keyword(s) Australian Literature
Place
Mallee
Murray River
Literary history
Summary Most literary histories of Australian regions are positioned as a small part of a national literary map, meaning that, with the restrictions brought by scope alone, these are inevitably partial, focussing on a handful of representative writers. But there are other challenges, too. ‘Literary history’ in a scholarly sense is a western idea; its tendency to focus on material textual outputs implicitly excludes oral and other modes of narrative. It is therefore a field that could easily, and sometimes willingly, participate in the colonial project which seeks to position pre-colonial time as past and outside the designation of what is culturally significant or potent.

We offer some reflections generated by a project which will produce the first dedicated literary history of the Mallee region of north-west Victoria. Exemplifying our observations of regional literary history in Australia, existing Mallee literary history is fragmented and limited, and overwhelmingly, white and male. Discussions of ‘Mallee literature’ are few, and where they occur - for instance, in national literary histories - they exclude contemporary texts, referencing only well known writers from the late nineteenth and early-mid twentieth century, and are unconnected to broader schools or groups in literary history.

In this paper we look at the Murray River as a geography (both material and discursive) that challenges a colonial, land-oriented account of Mallee literature and helps to think through how regional literary history may be done differently. Towards a conclusion, we return to the question of the postcolonial, and the possibilities for regional literary history that works with the constraints of the practice to resist, or push against, an inevitable folding into colonial logic.
Language eng
Field of Research 190499 Performing Arts and Creative Writing not elsewhere classified
200599 Literary Studies not elsewhere classified
210399 Historical Studies not elsewhere classified
1904 Performing Arts And Creative Writing
2005 Literary Studies
2103 Historical Studies
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2018, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30114452

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Communication and Creative Arts
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.