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The Representation of Dance in Australian Novels

The Darkness Beyond the Stage-Lit Dream

Melinda Jewell

This book is an analysis of the textual representation of dance in the Australian novel since the late 1890s. It examines how the act of dance is variously portrayed, how the word ‘dance’ is used metaphorically to convey actual or imagined movement, and how dance is written in a novelistic form. The author employs a wide range of theoretical approaches including postcolonial studies, theories concerned with class, gender, metaphor and dance and, in particular, Jung’s concept of the shadow and theories concerned with vision. Through these variegated approaches, the study critiques the common view that dance is an expression of joie de vivre, liberation, transcendence, order and beauty. This text also probes issues concerned with the enactment of dance in Australia and abroad, and contributes to an understanding of how dance is ‘translated’ into literature. It makes an important contribution because the study of dance in Australian literature has been minimal, and this despite the reality that dance is prolific in Australian novels.