Towards a Literary Geography of the Interwar Australian Novel

  • Harriet Edquist
Part of the Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography book series (LNGC)


This paper discusses the possibility of constructing a literary geography of twenty Australian novels published by writers from New South Wales between the Depression and the end of World War II. Using Franco Moretti’s approach that examines where action takes place in novels (Atlas of the European Novel 1800–1900, Verso, London and New York, 1999) it argues that in the Australian novels, action is confi ned to relatively few places. These are the city of Sydney itself, a few harbourside suburbs and the rural hinterland in the south and west of New South Wales. The paper further argues that each locale gives rise to its own characteristic action: the city is the space of political struggle, the harbour suburbs are places for refiection on the European colonisation of the land, and the hinterland is the place where white Australians wrestle with issues of national identity. It concludes by observing that the most striking quality of this geography is its partial nature in that it ignores suburbia, the urban condition that has defined Australian settlement since the nineteenth century.


National Identity Marriage Market Urban Condition Political Struggle Blue Mountain 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harriet Edquist
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Architecture and DesignRMIT UniversityAustralia

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