The Pain of Unbelonging

Alienation and Identity in Australasian Literature


Beyond the obvious and enduring socio-economic ravages it unleashed on indigenous cultures, white settler colonization in Australasia also inflicted profound damage on the collective psyche of both of the communities that inhabited the contested space of the colonial world. The acute sense of alienation that colonization initially provoked in the colonized and colonizing populations of Australia and New Zealand has, recent studies indicate, developed into an endemic, existential pathology. Evidence of the psychological fallout from the trauma of geographical deracination, cultural disorientation and ontological destabilization can be found not only in the state of anomie and self-destructive patterns of behaviour that now characterize the lives of indigenous Australian and Maori peoples, but also in the perpetually faltering identity-discourse and cultural rootlessness of the present descendants of the countries’ Anglo-Celtic settlers.
It is with the literary expression of this persistent condition of alienation that the essays gathered in the present volume are concerned. Covering a heterogeneous selection of contemporary Australasian literature, what these critical studies convincingly demonstrate is that, more than two hundred years after the process of colonisation was set in motion, the experience that Germaine Greer has dubbed 'the pain of unbelonging' continues unabated, constituting a dominant thematic concern in the writing produced today by Australian and New Zealand authors.


EUR €57.00USD $72.00

Biographical Note

SHEILA COLLINGWOOD–WHITTICK is a senior lecturer in postcolonial studies in the English Department of the University of Grenoble III.
CONTRIBUTORS: Pablo Armellino, Sheila Collingwood–Whittick, Marc Delrez, Françoise Kral, Sue Ryan–Fazilleau, Germaine Greer, Anne Magnan–Park, Christine Nicholls, Lorenzo Perrona, Elvira Pulitano, Sarah Shieff and Eleonore Wildburger.

Table of contents

Preface: Germaine GREER
Marc DELREZ: Towards Settler Auto-Ethnography: Nicholas Jose’s Black Sheep
Pablo ARMELLINO: Australia Re-Mapped and Con-Texted in Kim Scott’s Benang
Elvira PULITANO: “One more story to tell”: Diasporic Articulations in Sally Morgan’s My Place
Eleonore WILDBURGER: Belonging and Unbelonging in Text and Research: “Snow Domes” in Australia
Christine NICHOLLS: Reconciling Accounts: An Analysis of Stephen Gray’s The Artist is a Thief
Lorenzo PERRONA: The Spectral Belongings of Mudrooroo
Sue RYAN–FAZILLEAU: The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith and the ‘Pain of Unbelonging’
Sarah SHIEFF: the bone people Contexts and Reception, 1984–2004
Françoise KRAL: Integrating, Belonging, Unbelonging in Albert Wendt’s Sons for the Return Home
Anne MAGNAN–PARK: Margaret Mahy’s Post-National Bridge-Building: Weaving the Threads of Unbelonging
Notes on Contributors


Collection Information