Literary Legacies: Vanquishing Images of the Past

By Noela McNamara.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In this paper I examine similarities and differences in representations of Aboriginal people and the Aboriginal life-world in three texts representative of a century of Australian literature. Katherine S Prichard's 'Coonardoo'(1929), and Patrick White's 'A Fringe of Leaves' (1976) are well established texts in literary courses nationally and internationally. 'A Secret River' by popular author Kate Grenville and winner of the Orange Award for Literature in 2006 exemplifies current trends within the Australian literary discourse. The paper questions whether there is any basis for the negative stereotypical representation of Aboriginal people as savage and primitive in light of historical and scientific evidence which recognises Aboriginal Australians as the oldest living culture on earth. Furthermore, it examines the effects on the Australian psyche of constantly engaging negative imagery of Aboriginal people.

Keywords: Australia, Aboriginal People, literary Representation

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp.185-190. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 505.519KB).

Noela McNamara

Postgraduate research student, School of Indigenous Australian Studies, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Noela McNamara, BA(Hons in Literature), postgraduate research student with the School of Indigenous Australian Studies, James Cook University, Cairns. Her research interest is the relationship between literature and society and in particular the negative stereotypical representation of Indigenous Australians in Australian literature and the social consequences of constantly reinvigorating colonial imagery.

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