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"The Ghostly Haunting of White Shame in David Malouf's Remembering Babylon."


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Burrows, VB 2006 , '"The Ghostly Haunting of White Shame in David Malouf's Remembering Babylon."' , Westerly, vol. 51 , pp. 124-135 .

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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.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Burrows, VB
Journal or Publication Title: Westerly
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