Degree Name

Master of Creative Arts - Research


The veracity of the term 'writing back' has been well established, since its coinage by Salman Rushdie in the early 1980s, as an apt description of what some writers from post-colonial countries do when they re-engage with the literature from the imperial centre. Generally this is achieved through counter-discourse by which post-colonial texts, or 'settler literatures' seek to subvert the iconic imperialist texts to not only re-attach a post-colonial readership to a truth more aligned with their own experience but also to re-align the imperial readership to 'other truths' in keeping with the world-view of the post-colonial experience.

Such writers of post-colonial literature use varying techniques of engagement, and re-engagement, for their counter-discursive goals; and one of these techniques is via negotiation not only of the imperial text but also of the imperial author. This thesis argues that writers of settler literatures negate the authorial power of iconic imperialist texts on which they are based. However Wolfgang Iser's writings on reader response teach us that where there is negation there needs to be a logical alternative truth to actively re-align readers' beliefs and re-attach readers' loyalties to the authorial power of the new settler texts. The three texts under analysis, Peter Carey's Jack Maggs (1997); J.M. Coetzee's Foe (1987) and Patrick White's A Fringe of Leaves (1976) actively provide and achieve this: they urge readers to adopt the new world truth inherent in the settler texts themselves.