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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Essay- Australian Literature and Candian Comparison

A short summary made by Abhaya ma'am.
The Field

Highlights the similarities between Canada and Australia
Both are English – language, culture, politics- dominated nations
Indigenous cultures have been ignored
British dominance has given way to the dominance of US

Ian Willison points out the similarities between North America and Australia; these nine points are important – from here the writers trace other books that compare formation of Australian and Canadian cultures; as they discuss these books they summarize the points the books make. This part explains the critical legacy Diana Brydon and Helen Tiffin inherit. They also say how and why they move from the already established critical stance.

The questions that get answered in these paragraphs

Why Australia and Canada should be studied together?
Common elements between Canada and Australia

Problems of Critical Stance: Locating the Critic

This section is little complicated because arguments of critics from Australia and Canada are combined. So read carefully.

Primarily, the understanding/construction of ‘home’ is highlighted
A transplanted culture wants to create a home in the image of earlier home in a different geographical location; the topography comes in the way of recreation
Colonial enterprise, which is run for the benefit of the others, does not allow any development.
(Shift from sense of home to finding home in literature and how this search for home through writing has shaped the national literature in Canada and Australia)

In such a scenario how do writers negotiate to develop their sense of style, genres
Home does not just refer to sense of belonging; what they inherited as literature, style, genres…

Nationalist position – argues that the writers should anchor themselves in their sense of place; interpret the world from that position; should not mimic the English literature

Internationalist position – assumes a universal stance; exposure to the best that has been produced will enable the colonial writer to write well – the assumption is best comes from the ‘west’ – the writer will position himself outside his own provincial culture

After indicating these two positions the writers list out the important writers from both the countries who belong to which group.
Locations in Time and Space: Literary History and Geography

This section focus on the anglo-centric images and symbols that Canada and Australia inherit and how this legacy affect the writing. Premises for writing of literary histories are considered for discussion

The Postcolonial Context

The problems both the countries face as they struggle for Self-definition – finding real Australia/Canada in the ‘wild’, ‘bush’, ‘outback’ instead of city – still both are urban societies


Canada’s efforts to differentiate oneself from the US

Australia and the implication of its geographical location.


Kanasu said...

We call it postcolonialism, and we study the plight of essentially "White Eurpoeans" when they arrived at Cannada and Australia, and do not really look at any literature, or trauma of the indegenous population, especially in Australia. How is this, then, in any sense postcolonial? Isn't it only another version of Eurocentrism?

Anil Pinto said...

Wow. Quite a pertinent question, Kana.

Syeda Sumaiya said...

Hey thanks Vani...its really helping...good job

Akshay Gururaj said...

Kana seriously. That's brilliant. I think that's on the back of everyone's mind, but you just expressed it. Further, I think the Eurocentrism only moves away from African literature as time progresses. In a way we still do not know the literatures of the indegenous population in Australia and Canada. But again, where do we draw the line in both the countries' writers when most of them are, in history and today, essentially white Europeans?

Kanasu said...

Just because they are dominant in history, one does not have to give them so much importance.

The very fact that we have been giving them so much importance in the first place itself is the mistake... Don't you think?

Akshay Gururaj said...

Yup absolutely. To add to that, on the contrary, I haven't studied one single Indian author in school, college or anywhere, let alone texts from Australia et al. So therefore, 'literature' always meant non-Indian and more particularly, Shakespeare. My friends from science backgrounds ask me, how/what can you study Shakespeare for three whole years!!