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Between Literature and Painting

Three Australian Women Writers

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Roberta Buffi

Janine Burke, Beverley Farmer, and Drusilla Modjeska have made a significant contribution to Australian women’s writing at the end of the twentieth century. Their original, bold narratives convey a sense of plurality and the unfixed nature of femininity in representation. By investigating the aesthetic, theoretical, and literary perspectives that ground modernism and postmodernism and by analyzing the effects that distinguish certain aspects of contemporary European paintings as well as some modernist women’s visual configurations and self-constructions, Roberta Buffi explores how the fictions produced by these three Australian women writers are informed by particular linguistic and visual notions. Buffi argues how the visual – both as a subject matter and as a conspicuous quality of their prose styles – constitutes an underlying narrative strategy in their work, which adds new perspectives to available literary and theoretical frameworks in which preoccupations of feminine subjectivity are at stake.