Gerald Murnane's Changing Geographies

Document type: Researchreports
Full text:
Author(s): Karin Hansson
Title: Gerald Murnane's Changing Geographies
Series: Research Report
Year: 2000
Issue: 3
ISSN: 1103-1581
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: Dept. of Humanities and Social Science (Institutionen för humaniora och samhällsvetenskap)
Dept. of Hum. and Soc. Sci., S-371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 780 00
Authors e-mail:
Language: English
Abstract: Lecturing on his novel The Plains at La Trobe University Gerald Murnane argued that the book “was the story of a man who tried to see properly.” In the introductory paragraph we are told that the first-person narrator is looking for “anything in the landscape that seemed to hint at some elaborate meaning behind appearance.” This search for “the furthest of all landscapes” is a recurrent theme in Murnane’s writing. My paper will discuss the characteristics and the function of his idiosyncratic geographies in such contexts. As he writes in Velvet Waters his mysterious hidden vistas of loneliness and otherworldliness belong to a world in which “there will never be any such thing as time. There is only place.” These two novels like Inland and Landscape With Landscape take us on cerebral journeys across maps and strange territories of continually changing perspectives. It will be argued that the settings referred to as Paraguay, Hungary, America or Australia, ‘the plains’ or ‘the inland’ are to be understood as mental precincts, as states of mind.
Subject: The Humanities\English
Keywords: Gerald Murnane, Literary criticism, Australia
Note: This paper was presented at the international conference on “Changing Geographies: Australia and the Millennium,” at the University of Barcelona, 2-4 February 2000.
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-00161