The Australian Imaginary

Subject ENGL20009 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 102-hours across the semester, including class time.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

106-046 Wild Writing: The Australian Imaginary

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Prof Ken Gelder

Subject Overview:

The sense of national literature formed quite soon in colonial Australia, which saw a remarkable level of literary activity across a range of genres. This subject looks at what a national literature means, and how it makes itself significant to the nation and beyond. It will think about colonialism and colonial writing in Australia, modes of Australian social realism, the emergence of an Australian modernism, ways of representing region, suburb and city, postcolonialism in Australia, 'multicultural' writing, and Indigenous literature. The focus is on the novel, short stories, poetry and genres such as romance and the Gothic.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the subject students should have:

  • a familiarity with some key Australian literary texts and with themes and issues that relate to how we think about a national literature;
  • been introduced to ways of thinking about genre and literary representation in Australia;
  • an increased critical awareness of the above, and a developed capacity for sophisticated literary analysis.

One short essay of 1500 words, 40% (due during the semester) and one long essay of 2500 words, 50% (due in the examination period). A class presentation of either work towards an essay, or an account of the primary and/or second reading material for a given week, 10%. This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% attendance and regular participation in tutorials. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. All assessment tasks must be submitted in order to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

  • The Anthology of Colonial Australian Gothic Fiction (Ken Gelder and Rachael Weaver eds)
  • The Anthology of Colonial Australian Romance Fiction (Ken Gelder and Rachael Weaver eds)
  • Seven Poor Men of Sydney (Christina Stead)
  • The Electrical Experience (Frank Moorhouse)
  • Voss (Patrick White)
  • The Hunter (Julia Leigh)
  • The Slap (Christos Tsiolkas)
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • be able to apply new research skills and critical methods to a field of inquiry;

  • develop critical self-awareness and the capacity to shape and strengthen persuasive arguments;

  • communicate arguments and ideas effectively and articulately, both in writing and to others.


Students who have completed 106-046 Australia and the Colonial Imaginary or 106-046/670-326 Wild Writing: The Australian Imginary are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Australian Studies
Australian Studies Major
English Literary Studies Major
English and Theatre Studies
English and Theatre Studies
English and Theatre Studies
Related Breadth Track(s): Australia in Writing

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