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The Double Aspect: Gerald Murnane's Visual Poetics
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

With its abundance of maps, place names, and landscapes, and with titles like Inland and Landscape with Landscape, Gerald Murnane’s fiction exemplifies the dominance of land in Australian literature. Yet, Murnane’s fiction differs from most “landscape fiction” in that it depicts an Australia that despite its history of exploration has not yet been fully discovered. Murnane posits a vision of Australia as a place with a twofold character: it is thoroughly mapped yet unexplored at the same time.

Taking account of that twofold character, this study argues that Murnane’s constant preoccupation with matters of vision and visuality is an attempt to flesh out a visual mode that could intimate the other Australia that has been overwritten by the imperial narrative. By investigating the complex interrelations between the structures of vision/visuality and the figures of exile, landscape, and woman in Murnane’s narratives, the study traces the emergence of a visual poetics of doubleness as a possible disturbance of colonial landscaping. The various doublings in Murnane’s fiction create a gap through which a different perspective may emerge, a perspective that allows an (un)reading of the “Cartesian” gaze inherent in the imperial narrative. The duplication of vision can be understood as a counter-praxis that challenges the scopic regime of “Cartesian perspectivalism”.

In order to discuss the complexity of this doubleness, the study introduces the two-pronged concept of the double aspect, which denotes both the deconstructive move that enables the (un)reading, and the idiosyncratic mode of representation that is at work in Murnane’s fiction. Through the double aspect, Murnane’s fiction fashions a visual poetics that enables a reconstitution of Australia as a site/sight for continuous re-viewing and rediscovery on an aesthetic plane.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Engelska institutionen , 2005. , 240 p.
Keyword [en]
Australian twentieth-century fiction, the double aspect, “Cartesian perspectivalism”, vision, visuality, visual poetics, exile, landscape, woman, gaze, Gerald Murnane
National Category
General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-704OAI: diva2:197518
Public defence
2005-12-03, hörsal 11, hus F, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2005-11-11 Created: 2005-11-11Bibliographically approved

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