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Launch: Locating Australian Literary Memory

December 12, 2019 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm


The RHSV is delighted to host the launch of Brigid Magner’s Locating Australian Literary Memory which explores the cultural meanings suffusing local literary commemorations.

John Arnold, book historian and former editor of the La Trobe Journal, will launch the book and also there will be readings from the Henry Lawson, Adam Lindsay Gordon and Henry Handel Richardson societies (and maybe a Banjo Paterson song)!

It is orientated around eleven authors – Adam Lindsay Gordon, Joseph Furphy, Henry Handel Richardson, Henry Lawson, A. B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson, Nan Chauncy, Katharine Susannah Prichard, Eleanor Dark, P. L. Travers, Kylie Tennant and David Unaipon – who have all been celebrated through a range of forms including statues, huts, trees, writers’ houses and assorted objects.

Brigid Magner illuminates the social memory residing in these monuments
and artefacts, which were largely created as bulwarks against forgetting. Acknowledging the
value of literary memorials and the voluntary labour that enables them, she traverses the many
contradictions, ironies and eccentricities of authorial commemoration in Australia, arguing for an
expanded repertoire of practices to recognise those who have been hitherto excluded.

Brigid Magner’s fascinating study sets out the ways in which a nation can build an identity
by actively constructing a literary memory, and then using those memories to paper over the
deep history of our First Nations and their stories. In doing so she helps us understand both
how fragile Australian culture is and also the ways in which literature is a powerful force.
—Sophie Cunningham

Brigid Magner is senior lecturer in literary studies and founding member of the non/fiction lab
research group at RMIT University, Australia. She has contributed to a range of publications on
topics relating to Australian and New Zealand literary culture with a particular focus on publishing,
authorship, cultural heritage and tourism.

Drinks from 5:30pm for a 6pm launch.

John Arnold recently retired from Monash University after twenty-three years with the National Centre for Australian Studies. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash. He was the co-editor (with John Hay) of the four-volume Bibliography of Australian Literature (2001–08) and author of The Fanfrolico Press: Satyrs, Fauns and Fine Books (2008). He is a former editor of the La Trobe Journal. He is published widely on the history of the book in Australia.


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December 12, 2019
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


Royal Historical Society of Victoria
03 9326 9288


RHSV, Gallery Downstairs
239 A'Beckett Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000 Australia
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03 9326 9288