Peter Carey's jack Maggs (1997) is a novel about the creation of the self. In its 'writing back' to Dickens's Great Expectations (1861), it takes up the central themes of that novel: the exploitation of childhood and the child's struggle to find his own identity. At the same time, it constitutes a distinctly post-colonial account of the creation of Australia, as the child- figure becomes a representation of the new world. Inspired by Edward Said's reading of Great Expectations in Culture and Imperialism,1 Carey adopts the generic conventions of the 1860s sensation novel (the genre, of course, of Great Expectations), and extends these, as well, to encompass the post-colonial concerns of Australia.



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