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Suburban Space, the Novel and Australian Modernity

Suburban Space, the Novel and Australian Modernity

By Brigid Rooney

Anthem Studies in Australian Literature and Culture

‘Suburban Space, the Novel and Australian Modernity’ investigates the interaction between suburbs and suburbia in a century-long series of Australian novels. It puts the often trenchantly anti-suburban rhetoric of Australian fiction in dialogue with its evocative and imaginative rendering of suburban place and time.

EPUB, 254 Pages

ISBN:9781783088164

November 2018

£18.36, $30.36

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PDF, 254 Pages

ISBN:9781783088157

November 2018

£18.36, $30.36

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents

About This Book

‘Suburban Space, the Novel and Australian Modernity’ focuses on the dynamic interaction between suburbs and suburbia as this emerges in a century-long series of Australian novels – in works by Christina Stead, George Johnston, Elizabeth Harrower, Patrick White, Christos Tsiolkas and many other twentieth-century and contemporary writers. It puts the often trenchantly anti-suburban rhetoric found in these novels in dialogue with their evocative rendering of suburban place and time.

In the process, ‘Suburban Space, the Novel and Australian Modernity’ rethinks perennial literary and cultural debates about suburbia – in Australia and elsewhere. It does so by putting fictional ‘suburbs’ (their multitude of imagined interiors, homes, streets, forms and lives over time) into dialogue with cosmopolitan resistance towards the very idea of ‘suburbia’ as an amnesic and conformist cultural wasteland. ‘Suburban space, the novel and Australian modernity’ explores the generative collision produced in novels between the sensory remembered terrain of the primal suburb and wider cultural critiques of suburbia. It is through such contradictions that novels create resonant mental maps of suburban place and time. Australian novels, in other words, serve as a prism through which suburbs – real and imagined, remembered and utterly transformed – can be glimpsed sidelong.

‘Suburban Space, the Novel and Australian Modernity’ is a coinage that highlights both the persistence and the renovation of literary forms by means of the suburb. The suburbs prompt writers to experiment with the forms of the novel. The very scale of the suburb is productive, enabling narratives to slide readily from microcosm to macrocosm, from the domestic interior to the globe. Like suburbia, the novel is a form that is both generic and specific, circulating transnationally yet taking root locally. 'Suburban Space, the Novel and Australian Modernity’ enacts a retrospective of Australian literary suburbia that reorients understanding of the political, cultural and literary significance of the suburbs. Novels about suburbs often play with time, looking into the past in order to summon what is lost. ‘Suburban Space, the Novel and Australian Modernity’ enacts a retrospective of Australian literary suburbia that reorients understanding of the political, cultural and literary significance of the suburbs.

Reviews

‘Brigid Rooney eloquently renders a dynamic vision of the suburb as a site in Australian literature, tracing the “seismic rifts and connections” between suburb and national image in writers ranging from Patrick White to Michelle de Kretser’
—Nicholas Birns, Associate Professor, School of Professional Studies, New York University, USA, and author of Contemporary Australian Literature: A World Not Yet Dead.

‘At last: an authoritative book on the topic of the suburb in Australian fiction. […] Audacious in scope, broad in its philosophical connections, this is an indispensable text for scholars in Australian, literary and cultural studies’
—Gail Jones, Professor, Writing and Society Research Centre, Western Sydney University, Australia.

Author Information

Brigid Rooney teaches Australian literature in the Department of English at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her previous publications include ‘Literary Activists: Writer-Intellectuals and Australian Public Life’ (2009).

Series

Anthem Studies in Australian Literature and Culture

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction: Things to Do with Suburbia; Part 1 Pre-1945 Suburbia; Chapter One Bungalow Modernism: D. H. Lawrence’s Kangaroo; Chapter Two Breaking the Iron Circle: Women Writing the Suburbs, 1917–1944; Part 2 Mid- Century Suburbia; Chapter Three Frontier Suburb, Interior Modernity: Patrick White’s The Tree of Man; Chapter Four The Long Remove: Expatriate Visions of Suburbia; Chapter Five Electric Suburbia: Reverberations and Legacies of Shock in Women’s Fiction; Part 3 Post- Suburbia; Chapter Six Reflex, Reflection, Revision: Post- Suburban Novels; Chapter Seven Outer Suburban Tales; Chapter Eight Suburban Globe: Homing Strangers, Estranging Home; Coda; Chapter Nine Refractions of Suburbia in Alexis Wright’s, The Swan Book; Notes; Works Cited; Index.

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