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German Images in Australian Literature from the 1940s to the 1980s


Irmtraud Petersson

This cross-cultural study examines German-Australian relations by tracing patterns of representation in Australian writing. The imagological approach enables comparisons to be made among a wide range of texts and of authors as diverse as Martin Boyd, Dymphna Cusack, Thomas Keneally, David Martin, E.O. Schlunke, Patrick White. The most common German images and stereotypes found are those associated with rural environment and romantic imagination on the one hand, and with savagery and barbarity represented by Nazism on the other. The significance of such images often links up with Australian perception of the 'Old World' and its cultural legacy, thus being part of the process of Australian self-definition and self-understanding.
Contents: German-Australian immigrants: migrant writers and migrant characters - Australian responses to the 'Old World' and to German culture - Patrick White's presentation of German characters and culture.