Novel Politics

Studies in Australian political fiction

John Uhr, Shaun Crowe
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Novel Politics

Published

4 February 2020

ISBN

9780522875980

Imprint

Melbourne University Press

Novel Politics

Studies in Australian political fiction

John Uhr, Shaun Crowe
Percy Bysshe Shelley once described poets as the 'unacknowledged legislators of the world'. If this is true, Australian political scientists have shown curiously little interest in the role that literary figures play in the nation's political life. Novel Politics takes the relationship between literature and politics seriously, analysing the work of six writers, each the author of a classic text about Australian society. These authors bridge the history of local writing, from pre-Federation colonial Australia (Catherine Spence, Rosa Praed and Catherine Martin) to the contemporary moment (Tim Winton, Christos Tsiolkas and Kim Scott). Novel Politics unpicks the many political threads woven into these books, as they document the social world as it exists, while suggesting new possibilities for the nation's future. As political commentators of a particular kind, all six authors offer unique insights into the deeper roots of politics in Australia, beyond the theatre of parliament and out into…
Percy Bysshe Shelley once described poets as the 'unacknowledged legislators of the world'. If this is true, Australian political scientists have shown curiously little interest in the role that literary figures play in the nation's political life. Novel Politics takes the relationship between literature and politics seriously, analysing the work of six writers, each the author of a classic text about Australian society. These authors bridge the history of local writing, from pre-Federation colonial Australia (Catherine Spence, Rosa Praed and Catherine Martin) to the contemporary moment (Tim Winton, Christos Tsiolkas and Kim Scott). Novel Politics unpicks the many political threads woven into these books, as they document the social world as it exists, while suggesting new possibilities for the nation's future. As political commentators of a particular kind, all six authors offer unique insights into the deeper roots of politics in Australia, beyond the theatre of parliament and out into the wider social world, as imagined by its dreamers and criticised by its most incisive discontents.

Table of Contents
Preface
Introduction: Politics and the Study of Literature
Part One
Chapter 1 Catherine Spence's Clara Morison
Chapter 2 Rosa Praed's Policy and Passion
Chapter 3 Catherine Martin's An Australian Girl
Part Two
Chapter 4 Tim Winton's Dirt Music
Chapter 5 Christos Tsiolkas's The Slap
Chapter 6 Kim Scott's That Deadman Dance and Taboo
Conclusion: Literature and the Study of Politics

A rescue operation to reveal the subtle variety of Australian political fiction and save it from the deadening simplicity of patriotic tradition.”
David Marr

Shaun Crowe

Shaun Crowe

Shaun Crowe recently completed his doctorate at the Australian National University's School of Politics and International Relations, where he taught politics and Australian history. He has previously written on these topics for The Guardian, The Canberra Times, The Australian Book Review, The Conversation and the ABC.

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John Uhr

John Uhr

John Uhr is Professor of Political Science in the College of Arts and Social Sciences, Australian National University. His recent books include Prudential Public Leadership and Performing Political Theory.

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