Skip to main content
placeholder image

Meta-medievalism and the future of the past in the 'Australian Girl' Novel

Journal Article


Abstract


  • This essay is situated at the crossroad of critical approaches to

    medievalism - the postmedieval citation, interpretation, or recreation

    of the Middle Ages - and to Australian women's writing. 1 It sets

    out to supplement the wealth of excellent work on the New Woman novel,

    and in particular on its antipodean iteration, the Australian Girl novel,

    by considering this genre's surprisingly rich and thoughtful engagement

    with the practices of late nineteenth-century medievalism.2 Susan Magarey

    has argued that the New Woman novel 'acquired a particular resonance in

    the Australian colonies' because it accorded with the Australian nationalist

    quest for an iconic female counterpart to the Coming Australian Man - the

    Australian Girl (105). As such, these novels were bound up with notions

    of national futurity as well as with gender relations. Medievalism is used

    here as a side-window to access the largely submerged engagement with

    concepts of the pre-modern that underlay Australian women's depictions of

    colonial society and women's place within it. Patricia Murphy has argued

    that it is vital to register the ways in which New Woman novels' emergence

    out of the late Victorian period led them to 'import temporal discourses

    . .. to illuminate heightened gender anxieties wrought by this rebellious

    anomaly' (Murphy 2). Through an examination of works by four late nineteenth-century Australian women writers - Tasma (Jessie Couvreur),

    Catherine Martin, Ada Cambridge, and Rosa Praed - which explores their

    differing intersections with medievalism as a temporal discourse, this essay

    will argue that their work reflects that discourse's unique capacity to probe

    contemporary gender and colonial ideologies via its oscillation between

    premodernity and modernity.

Authors


  •   D'Arcens, Louise (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2011

Citation


  • D'Arcens, L. 2011, 'Meta-medievalism and the future of the past in the 'Australian Girl' Novel', Australian Literary Studies, vol. 26, no. 3-4, pp. 69-85.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84865201413

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/artspapers/1233

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 16

Start Page


  • 69

End Page


  • 85

Volume


  • 26

Issue


  • 3-4

Abstract


  • This essay is situated at the crossroad of critical approaches to

    medievalism - the postmedieval citation, interpretation, or recreation

    of the Middle Ages - and to Australian women's writing. 1 It sets

    out to supplement the wealth of excellent work on the New Woman novel,

    and in particular on its antipodean iteration, the Australian Girl novel,

    by considering this genre's surprisingly rich and thoughtful engagement

    with the practices of late nineteenth-century medievalism.2 Susan Magarey

    has argued that the New Woman novel 'acquired a particular resonance in

    the Australian colonies' because it accorded with the Australian nationalist

    quest for an iconic female counterpart to the Coming Australian Man - the

    Australian Girl (105). As such, these novels were bound up with notions

    of national futurity as well as with gender relations. Medievalism is used

    here as a side-window to access the largely submerged engagement with

    concepts of the pre-modern that underlay Australian women's depictions of

    colonial society and women's place within it. Patricia Murphy has argued

    that it is vital to register the ways in which New Woman novels' emergence

    out of the late Victorian period led them to 'import temporal discourses

    . .. to illuminate heightened gender anxieties wrought by this rebellious

    anomaly' (Murphy 2). Through an examination of works by four late nineteenth-century Australian women writers - Tasma (Jessie Couvreur),

    Catherine Martin, Ada Cambridge, and Rosa Praed - which explores their

    differing intersections with medievalism as a temporal discourse, this essay

    will argue that their work reflects that discourse's unique capacity to probe

    contemporary gender and colonial ideologies via its oscillation between

    premodernity and modernity.

Authors


  •   D'Arcens, Louise (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2011

Citation


  • D'Arcens, L. 2011, 'Meta-medievalism and the future of the past in the 'Australian Girl' Novel', Australian Literary Studies, vol. 26, no. 3-4, pp. 69-85.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84865201413

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/artspapers/1233

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 16

Start Page


  • 69

End Page


  • 85

Volume


  • 26

Issue


  • 3-4