eprints_Westerly.pdf (934.97 kB)
The Ghostly Haunting of White Shame in David Malouf's Remembering Babylon"""
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-26, 15:23 authored by Burrows, VB
The publication of David Malouf's Remembering Babylon met with an ambivalent reception.' The novel is a complex and often deeply moving narrative that vividly evokes the displacement, dispossession, uncertainties and anxieties of living in the border or contact zones in mid-nineteenth century Australia. Yet it radically divided literary critics, their divergent responses exacerhated by the socio-cultural context of its publication. This was in 1993, the International Yearof Indigenous Peoples, and one year after the momentous Mabo v. Queensland High Court ruling on native title. My own position in the ongoing debate is along the lines of Peter Otto's assertion that Malouf's text inscribes an erasure of the political " through his literary translation of the "political into the psychological and matters of history and politics into questions of creativity and aesthetics'? and in compliance with Suvendrini Perera's postcolonial critique of Malouf's protagonist as being centred within a "discourse of happy hyridisation ".' However rather than simply re-engaging with this debate I want to offer a reading of the underlying theme of shame in Remembering Babylon a subject that has so far been neglected in critical discussions of this novel."