The sorrows of Young Randolph: nature/culture and colonialism in Stow's fiction
Helen Tiffin has worked consistently around the possibilities of dismantling the structures and habits of thought of colonialism. In doing so, she has investigated possibilities of counter-formations: to literary canons, to the assumptions underlying canons (1993), to history and its narrative modes (1983), and to colonisalist discourse (1987). As her work has progressed, the demolition job on prejudicial boundaries between self and other has shifted direction from place to race to gender and thence to examining the boundaries between humans and nature, people and animals (2001). Throughout, her literary focus has been consistently on the Caribbean, but she has also analysed aspects of the Australian writer, Randolph Stow, notably Tourmaline (1978) and Visitants (1981). Her interest at the time was in texts that worked to undo Eurocentric colonialism, but if she revisited his work now, she might well look at how Stow's work shows connections between post/colonial cultures and problematic relations between humans and nature. What follows is a sketch of a reading.