Title

Winton's spectralities, or, what haunts Cloudstreet?

RIS ID

93219

Publication Details

Griffiths, M. R. (2014). Winton's spectralities, or, what haunts Cloudstreet?. In L. McCredden and N. O'Reilly (Eds.), Tim Winton: Critical Essays (pp. 75-95). Western Australia: University of Western Australia.

Additional Publication Information

ISBN: 9781742586069

Abstract

First published in 1991, Tim Winton's Cloudstreet is now presented in one of its several Penguin editions as a 'Modern Australian Classic'. Might this detail of the book's marketing reveal something about the novel's metatextual status? It might be seen to imply that Cloudstreet figures a certain Australian modernity. Indeed, this modernity would have to be commensurable with something classic, standard, which is also to say formative. And insofar as it is formative of the present, a classic is also implicitly, at least in part, of the past. Cloudstreet's metatextual status, then, implies that the novel figures Australia's modernity even as it relies on a classicism that is spectral: haunting the present in all its modernity. If the paradoxical canonical status claimed by the novel implies a certain spectrality, in this way then it is perhaps not surprising that in fleeting but essential moments the novel functions not only as a family epic, but also as a ghost story.

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