Thea Astley’s modernism of the 'Deep North', or on (un)kindness

Gildersleeve, Jessica ORCID: (2019) Thea Astley’s modernism of the 'Deep North', or on (un)kindness. Queensland Review, 26 (2). pp. 245-55. ISSN 1321-8166

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Although she is often perceived as a writer of the local, the rural or the regional, Thea Astley herself notes writing by American modernists as her primary literary influence, and emphasises the ethical value of transnational reading and writing. Similarly, she draws parallels between writing of the American ‘Deep South’ and her own writing of the ‘Deep North’, with a particular focus on the struggles of the racial or cultural outsider. In this article, I pursue Astley’s peculiar blend of these literary genres — modernism, the Gothic and the transnational — as a means of understanding her conceptualisation of kindness and community. Although Astley rejects the necessity of literary community, her writing emphasises instead the value of interpersonal engagement and social responsibility. With a focus on her first novel, Girl with a Monkey (1958), this article considers Astley’s representation of the distinction between community and kindness, particularly for young Catholic women in Queensland in the early twentieth century. In its simultaneous critique of the expectations placed on women and its upholding of the values of kindness and charity, Astley considers our responsibilities in our relations with the Other and with community.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Accepted version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.|
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 Mar 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Heritage and Culture (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2020 06:14
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2020 04:53
Uncontrolled Keywords: Thea Astley, modernism
Fields of Research (2008): 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2005 Literary Studies > 200502 Australian Literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature)
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
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