The Departure of the Author: A Post-Structuralist Reading of Gerald Murnane's Landscape with Landscape

Document type: Researchreports
Full text:
Author(s): Karin Hansson
Title: The Departure of the Author: A Post-Structuralist Reading of Gerald Murnane's Landscape with Landscape
Series: Research Report
Year: 1999
Issue: 18
ISSN: 1103-1581
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: Dept. of the Humanities (*** !Error ***)
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+46 455 780 00
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Authors e-mail: karin.hansson@ihu.hk-r.se
Language: English
Abstract: Gerald Murnane’s Landscape With Landscape is an intriguing book, full of contradictions and inconsistencies, teasing in the way it seems to be deliberately constructed to escape interpretation. Its anonymous, subversive and conceited first-person narrator cum protagonist, recognizable from other books by Murnane, is also the alleged writer of the six stories in the volume. In this capacity he gradually distances himself from his readers and finally, as will be further discussed, divests himself of all credibility. Thematically, truth and reality are key concepts but the narrative slides precariously between events that are ‘really’ taking place and a set of events that exist only in the deceptive narrator’s imagination.
All the stories start with a definition of place, a vantage point or a scene of departure. Significantly, as the title indicates, place and spatial perspectives are far more important than time. Seemingly matter-of-fact introductory descriptions like “I am in the backyard of my three-bedroom house in the City of Heidelberg…” or “I stood on a hill northeast of Melbourne and looked across the folds of suburbs…” turn out to be just as unreliable as the person who defines them. What the narrator claims to be a Paraguayan setting turns out to be decidedly Australian, for example. Beneath and beyond what is usually defined as reality, depths and vistas of unreality are exposed. This indeterminacy related to landscapes and perspectives affects the reading experience making the interpretation of the text fraught with intriguing uncertainty.
Subject: The Humanities\English
Keywords: Australian literature, criticism, Post-Structuralism
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-00145
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