Barracuda’s Freak Bodies and Elite Swimming in Australia

Gildersleeve, Jessica ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7694-5615 and McDonald, Janet ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6006-4941 (2022) Barracuda’s Freak Bodies and Elite Swimming in Australia. Journal of Australian Studies, 46 (1). pp. 98-111. ISSN 1444-3058


Abstract

This article considers the way in which elite swimming in Australia constitutes a system of identity to frame the privileging of heterosexuality, able-bodiedness and hypermasculinity in Christos Tsiolkas’s novel Barracuda (2013) and its television adaptation (2016). It argues that the two versions of the story offer very different sporting narratives: a migrant, working-class, gay body in the novel, the complexity of which is never fully realised on screen. The article shows how the television adaptation of Barracuda reshapes the novel’s atemporal structure into a linear progression of rise, fall and redemption, and that under these narrative conditions Daniel Kelly’s body becomes simply object, rather than embracing the subjecthood he is permitted in the novel. The effect is one of compulsory normalisation and erasure: of Danny’s queer body, of Dennis’s and Martin’s damaged bodies, and of the consequences of Danny’s criminal act. This process parallels similar attitudes towards Australia’s most elite athletes and the public ownership of their body narratives.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
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 - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Creative Arts (1 Mar 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2022 03:45
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2022 04:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: adaptation; Barracuda; body; Christos Tsiolkas; queer; sport
Fields of Research (2008): 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing > 190499 Performing Arts and Creative Writing not elsewhere classified
19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media > 190299 Film, Television and Digital Media not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 36 CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 3699 Other creative arts and writing > 369999 Other creative arts and writing not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950199 Arts and Leisure not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1301 Arts > 130199 Arts not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14443058.2022.2027806
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/43687

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