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The Search for Meaning in the Australian Novel


Christoph Armbruster

This thesis grew out of an epistemological interest centered on the search for meaning in literature, and out of a reading of Australian novels. Reaching beyond signification, the creation of meaning in literature refers to the significance a text acquires for the recipient's existence. The potential of this meaningfulness fluctuates between a process of explanation, of uncovering hidden meaning, and deception. Assuming that this range is best demonstrated in the literary treatment of negative experiences in human existence, of pain and suffering, we analyse how Australian novelists and critics set paradigms of meaning against the «Non-Sense» in experienced reality, who and what the agents of meaningfulness in Australian literature are, how they relate to each other and how they affect our reading experience.
Contents: The status of Australian literature - Suffering and violence in Australian literature - National qualities and ideas - Australian classics before 1930 - Patrick White's Voss and intuitive experience.