Year

2005

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English Studies Program - Faculty of Arts

Abstract

This thesis investigates some legacies of colonialism and genocide through a reading of Evelyn Crawford's transcribed oral history Over My Tracks (Melbourne, 1993), Ruby Langford Ginibi's life narrative Don't Take Your Love To Town (Melbourne, 1988) and Lily Brett's memory-based volumes of poetry After The War (Melbourne, 1990) and Unintended Consequences (Sydney, 1992). These texts, for different but related reasons, constitute minor Australian memoirs. The thesis argues that new readings of such memoirs contribute to new understandings of the intersectional nature of cultural histories. The reading presented in this thesis is structured theoretically and thematically by a focus on memory, music and displacement. Using a theoretical framework based more closely on aural than on visual models, this reading brings the three narrating subjects into conversation and attends to their respective representations of ancestral legacies, childhood, adolescence and adulthood. With methods drawn from literary criticism, ethnomusicology and history, the thesis offers a new way of listening to the complex memories of displaced people and their descendants. It is a study of diverse, ongoing effects of past persecution in the everyday lives of survivors and descendants, an area that has received limited attention in Australian literary studies. The thesis contributes to knowledge of the far-reaching consequences of different forms of displacement and points to implications for the current and future reception of displaced people's memories in Australia.

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