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Concrete Horizons: Romantic Irony in the Poetry of David Malouf and Samuel Wagan Watson

by Ruth Barratt-Peacock (Author)
Thesis 292 Pages
Open Access
Series: MUSE: Munich Studies in English, Volume 45

Summary

Drawing on Bernd Mahr’s model theory, this volume introduces a new approach to Romanticism in contemporary Australian literature. Focusing on two very different authors, David Malouf and the Indigenous poet Samuel Wagan Watson, this book highlights their similarities rather than their differences. It is the first book-length study dedicated specifically to each author’s poetic oeuvre. Comprehensive readings reveal that an ironic dialectic underpins how each poet writes from within a disjunct of culture and environment following colonisation, finding hope in dialogue and a productive process of negative assertion. The theoretical framing of Romanticism developed here effectively rehabilitates Romanticism as a productive paradigm in contemporary Australian poetry.

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Acknowledgements and Thanks
  • Contents
  • I. Introduction
  • Introduction
  • Reading Irony in Watson and Malouf: Content and Parameters
  • Framing Romanticism
  • Watson and Malouf: Finding Common Ground
  • II. Rethinking Romanticism
  • A bad Romance? Rehabilitating Romanticism in Australia
  • Australian Romanticism: A Brief History
  • Landscaping
  • Early Australian Romantic Poets?
  • Romanticism as Absence
  • Romanticism Beyond Nature, Beyond Nation
  • New Approaches to Romanticism: A Model of Romantic Irony
  • Language and Space
  • Romantic Irony
  • Irony: Rhetorical, Socratic, Romantic
  • Beyond Thought/Language Dualism
  • Ordo Inversus as Romantic Irony
  • Representing the Unrepresentable
  • Productive Negativity: The Ironic Dialectic
  • Irony Applied: The Subject in Australia
  • Model Theory: How Romanticism Continues and Adapts
  • Model Theory: A Pragmatic Alternative
  • What is a Model?
  • The Modelling Process
  • III. David Malouf
  • Malouf: An Author in Context
  • Malouf and the History Wars
  • Malouf: A Romantic?
  • A Poetics of Place
  • Water
  • Edges of the Nation
  • “Sheer Edge”; “At Deception Bay”; “Into the Blue”; “The Catch”; “This Day Under My Hand”; “An Ordinary Evening at Hamilton”
  • Communing with the Animal Other
  • “In the Sea’s Giving”; “The Crab Feast”; “Pentecostal”
  • Water: Closing Remarks
  • Interiors
  • Fragments of the Social Self
  • “This Day Under My Hand”; “An Ordinary Evening at Hamilton”
  • Recollections of Childhood: Deconstructing the Indoor Self
  • “Interiors from a Childhood”; “Indoor Garden”
  • Inside Language
  • “Dot Poem, the Connections”; “In the Beginning”
  • The Wild Indoors
  • “The Year of the Foxes”; “Notes from a Menagerie”; “Footnote for a Bestiary”
  • Interiors: Closing Remarks
  • (Sub)urban
  • Civil Beasts
  • “Dog Park”; “Bicycle”; “Typewriter Music”
  • Liminal Transcendence and Black Coffee
  • “Suburban”; “Towards Midnight”; “Windows”; “Earth Hour”
  • (Sub)Urban: Closing Remarks
  • Of Earth and Clay
  • Gardens of the Living Word
  • “Touching Earth”; “Cuisine”; “The Worm’s-Eye View”
  • Gardens as Schelling’s Living Word
  • Earth: Closing Remarks
  • The Body
  • “First Things Last”; “The Switch”; “Elegy: The Absences”; “Unholding Here”; “Afterword”; “Ode One”
  • Malouf’s Imaginary of Endless Becoming
  • IV. Watson: Moving Beyond Protest Poetry in the Second Generation
  • Framing the Indigenous Author
  • Watson: Labels and Indigenous Writing
  • Collected Volumes: Themes and Development
  • Australian-Aboriginal Literature: Context
  • Approaching Watson: Writer; Indigenous Writer
  • A Poet of the Second Generation
  • Writing in the Protest Tradition
  • “Labelled”; “In the Light of Two Fires”; “Enemy of the State”; “Cheap White-Goods at the Dreamtime Sale”
  • Beyond the Postcolonial: A Different Take on Irony
  • “Apocalyptic Quatrains: The Australian Wheat Board/Iraq Bribery Scandal”
  • Irony: Between the Universal and the Specific
  • Two Realities, One City
  • Narrating Reality: The Gothic and the Hyperreal in Watson
  • “The Dingo Lounge”; “The Crooked Men”; “Cribb Island”; “Capalaba”; “Die Dunkle Erde”
  • The Hyperreal
  • The Gothic
  • Aboriginal Gothic Opacity vs Watson’s Glossaries
  • The Fantastic Is Reality
  • An Enmeshed Sacred: Layering Place in Watson’s Work
  • “For the Wake and the Skeleton Dance”; “White Stucco Dreaming”; “A Bent Neck Black and Flustered Feather Mallee”
  • Ironic Contingency Through the Sacred
  • The Writer’s Voice in the City
  • “Fly-Fishing in Woolloongabba”; “The Writer’s Suitcase”
  • Language: Beyond the Embrace of a Twisted Tongue
  • A Writer’s Musings on Gastank Fumes
  • “Gasoline”; “Gastank Sonnets”; “After 2 a.m. ”
  • Writing: A Bittersweet Necessity
  • “A Blackbird of My Mind”; “Blood and Ink”; “Musing: The Graveyard Shift”
  • Beyond Language’s Limits
  • “Musing: The Graveyard Shift”; “Author’s Notes #2”; “Kangaroo Crossing”
  • The Abstract Transcendent
  • “Raindrops Fall in Vain”; “A Dead Man’s Mouth Harp”
  • A New Way Forward
  • “Poetry on the Green Bridge”; “Stealing Kisses”; “Let’s Talk”
  • Opening Up a Dialogue
  • V. Synthesis: The Actualisation of Romanticism in Contemporary Australian Poetry
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Sereis index

cover

Bibliographic Information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche
Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available online at
http://dnb.d-nb.de.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
A CIP catalog record for this book has been applied for at the
Library of Congress.

Zugl.: Jena, Univ., Diss., 2019

About the author

The Author
Ruth Barratt-Peacock is an Australian expatriate musicologist and a literary studies researcher. Her work ranges from Australian literature, Romanticism, and literature in the Anthropocene to ludo musicology, metal music, and cultural studies.

About the book

Ruth Barratt-Peacock

Concrete Horizons: Romantic Irony in the Poetry
of David Malouf and Samuel Wagan Watson

Drawing on Bernd Mahr’s model theory, this volume introduces a new approach to Romanticism in contemporary Australian literature. Focusing on two very different authors, David Malouf and the Indigenous poet Samuel Wagan Watson, this book highlights their similarities rather than their differences. It is the first book-length study dedicated specifically to each author’s poetic oeuvre. Comprehensive readings reveal that an ironic dialectic underpins how each poet writes from within a disjunct of culture and environment following colonisation, finding hope in dialogue and a productive process of negative assertion. The theoretical framing of Romanticism developed here effectively rehabilitates Romanticism as a productive paradigm in contemporary Australian poetry.

This eBook can be cited

This edition of the eBook can be cited. To enable this we have marked the start and end of a page. In cases where a word straddles a page break, the marker is placed inside the word at exactly the same position as in the physical book. This means that occasionally a word might be bifurcated by this marker.

For Gudrun
For the lending and giving of books
which is the loveliest act of kindness

Acknowledgements and Thanks

I am indebted to more people than I can acknowledge properly here, for even the smallest favours have such a deep impact on the long hard slog that is a PhD. But there are two groups of people to whom I owe a larger debt than most. Firstly, to my colleagues, particularly Hendrick for his support on this long climb and Annika for commiserations and biscuits. The second is the women who have supported me along the way with advice, good conversation, moral support, and endless patience. Thank you for everything Caroline, Birgit, Sabine, Katharina, and Petra.

For too many people, a PhD can be a lonely endeavour. In my case, this was not so, not least because of the loving support of my husband Johannes with his endless ability to look interested hearing words like ‘Romantic’ or ‘model’ for the thousandth time. I am grateful for so many acts of kindness and the genuine interest and respect which I have experienced in the academic community throughout this journey. I am thankful to Robert Clarke for his willingness to supervise my thesis from the other side of the world and to Christoph Bode for stepping in without hesitation when someone was needed closer. I will not forget the kindness of Lynn McCredden who invited me to her home when I, a complete stranger and rookie taking my first steps into academia, asked for advice. I am also grateful for the support and empathy of my colleagues Christin and Sandra when I came to them with news of death and then with news of birth.

Finally, my thanks go to all those involved in the research group “Modell Romantik” which has supported my research, both financially and intellectually. It has been an honour to deep dive into Romanticism at the same place it was brought into life by the early Romantics of Jena. The threads which have woven themselves into literature across the globe have so become the same threads that tie together my different lives and different homes here in Germany and in Australia.

Contents

I.Introduction

Reading Irony in Watson and Malouf: Content and Parameters

Framing Romanticism

Watson and Malouf: Finding Common Ground

II.Rethinking Romanticism

A bad Romance? Rehabilitating Romanticism in Australia

Australian Romanticism: A Brief History

Landscaping

Early Australian Romantic Poets?

Romanticism as Absence

Romanticism Beyond Nature, Beyond Nation

New Approaches to Romanticism: A Model of Romantic Irony

Language and Space

Romantic Irony

Irony: Rhetorical, Socratic, Romantic

Beyond Thought/Language Dualism

Ordo Inversus as Romantic Irony

Representing the Unrepresentable

Productive Negativity: The Ironic Dialectic

Irony Applied: The Subject in Australia

Model Theory: How Romanticism Continues and Adapts

Model Theory: A Pragmatic Alternative

What is a Model?

The Modelling Process

III. David Malouf

Malouf: An Author in Context

Malouf and the History Wars

Malouf: A Romantic?

A Poetics of Place

Water

Edges of the Nation

“Sheer Edge”; “At Deception Bay”; “Into the Blue”; “The Catch”; “This Day Under My Hand”; “An Ordinary Evening at Hamilton”

Communing with the Animal Other

“In the Sea’s Giving”; “The Crab Feast”; “Pentecostal”

Water: Closing Remarks

Interiors

Fragments of the Social Self

“This Day Under My Hand”; “An Ordinary Evening at Hamilton”

Recollections of Childhood: Deconstructing the Indoor Self

“Interiors from a Childhood”; “Indoor Garden”

Inside Language

“Dot Poem, the Connections”; “In the Beginning”

The Wild Indoors

“The Year of the Foxes”; “Notes from a Menagerie”; “Footnote for a Bestiary”

Interiors: Closing Remarks

(Sub)urban

Civil Beasts

“Dog Park”; “Bicycle”; “Typewriter Music”

Liminal Transcendence and Black Coffee

“Suburban”; “Towards Midnight”; “Windows”; “Earth Hour”

(Sub)Urban: Closing Remarks

Of Earth and Clay

Gardens of the Living Word

“Touching Earth”; “Cuisine”; “The Worm’s-Eye View”

Gardens as Schelling’s Living Word

Earth: Closing Remarks

The Body

“First Things Last”; “The Switch”; “Elegy: The Absences”; “Unholding Here”; “Afterword”; “Ode One”

Malouf’s Imaginary of Endless Becoming

IV.Watson: Moving Beyond Protest Poetry in the Second Generation

Framing the Indigenous Author

Watson: Labels and Indigenous Writing

Collected Volumes: Themes and Development

Australian-Aboriginal Literature: Context

Approaching Watson: Writer; Indigenous Writer

A Poet of the Second Generation

Writing in the Protest Tradition

“Labelled”; “In the Light of Two Fires”; “Enemy of the State”; “Cheap White-Goods at the Dreamtime Sale”

Details

Pages
292
ISBN (PDF)
9783631819630
ISBN (ePUB)
9783631819647
ISBN (MOBI)
9783631819654
ISBN (Hardcover)
9783631812686
Open Access
CC-BY
Language
English
Publication date
2020 (July)
Tags
Place-making Australian identity Contemporary Australian poetry Australian literature Suburban Australian literature City writing Model theory Australian Romanticism Romantic irony Spatial hermeneutics David Malouf Samuel Wagan Watson Indigenous poetry Aboriginal poetry Brisbane writing
Published
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 292 pp.

Biographical notes

Ruth Barratt-Peacock (Author)

Ruth Barratt-Peacock is an Australian expatriate musicologist and a literary studies researcher. Her work ranges from Australian literature, Romanticism, and literature in the Anthropocene to ludo musicology, metal music, and cultural studies.

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Title: Concrete Horizons: Romantic Irony in the Poetry of David Malouf and Samuel Wagan Watson