Anxiety and Hope of Imagining the ‘Country’ : Writing Women’s Belonging in the 21st Century

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Rok publikování 2021
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis There is a rich literary tradition of white women travelling to the Australian Outback and writing memoirs and travelogues about what has often been a life-changing experience for them. They invariably begin their journey as a quest—whether one for spiritual, national, gender or personal belonging, it is almost always a quest to come to terms with a sense of ungrounded being. If memoirs of settler belonging in general have framed the sense of belonging in terms of spatial anxiety (particularly at the turn of the 21st century), often questioning the legitimacy of settler belonging, then women writers complement this picture by integrating the perspective of gender: they thematize their affective as well as intellectual responses to the landscapes, encounters with (female) Indigeneity and rural Australia, and female solitude. While such narratives have been written almost exclusively by white settler women, it is noteworthy that recently other than Anglo-Celtic perspectives have been voiced. The journalist Monica Tan, a first generation Chinese Australian, wrote Stranger Country (2019) as an accessible travel narrative intended for wide readership, a strategy endorsed by the marketing of the book. Keen to explore remote areas as they still elude the “authentic” Australia, Tan both perpetuates and challenges some of the most stereotypical and clichéd images of the continent. The paper will analyse Tan’s reflections and social commentary with emphasis on the ways in which Tan’s narrative deviates from (or extends) the tradition of the other settler women’s travel memoirs, particularly since Robyn Davidson’s Tracks.
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