PhD University of NSW 2015 Pages: 232

The Space and Time of Imagined Sound: Australian Literature and Music, 1945 to Present

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This thesis examines the space and time of imagined sound in Australian post-World War Two literature and music. Using what I term a critical close listening methodology, I will discuss a range of novels, poems, songs, song suites, film clips and art music compositions that, through a return to various times in the past, offer a remapping of Australian space. Literary and musical representations of the post-European settlement era – narratives as diverse as the desert explorer imagined by both Francis Webb in his poetic sequence ‘Eyre All Alone’ (1961) and David Lumsdaine in his electro-acoustic composition Aria for Edward John Eyre (1972), the convict and outsiders songs of The Drones and Gareth Liddiard (2006 and 2010), the soundings of mythic island foundations in Baecastuff’s Mutiny Music (2006 - present) and the destruction and rebirth of the continental top-end in Alexis Wright’s novel Carpentaria (2006) – resonate within key moments of the post-war era, such as the search for the centre, the shift towards recognition of Indigenous custodianship in the post-Mabo period, and the move beyond the boundaries of the nation. Drawing together literary and musical works in seven chapters, I consider representations of Indigenous and non-Indigenous experiences of a range of Australian geoimaginaries – the continent, the archipelago, and the island...

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