Span: Journal of the South Pacific Assoc for Cwlth Lit and Language Studies
Number 32, 1992
Edited by Jenny de Reuck & Hugh Webb

Post-Colonial Peter Carey

M. D. Fletcher

Peter Carey has indicated in an interview that with Illywhacker he tried to come to terms with the meaning of Australia and with being an Australian. 1 While this characterisation may overlook Bliss, the purpose of this two part article is to demonstrate some of the obvious ways in which Illywhacker and Oscar and Lucinda reflect post-colonial concerns and techniques. It is not necessary to resort to oxymoronic descriptions such as "a combination of post-modern form and traditional satiric indignation", as post-colonial writing does combine meta-fictional devices with political engagement.2

My strategy is to indicate very briefly the relevance of metafictional techniques to post-colonial writing, to indicate a number of metonymic themes peculiar to post-colonial literature, and to consider the additional device of particular types of main protagonist as employed by Carey before turning to detailed analyses of Illywhacker and Oscar and Lucinda.. The underlying observation here is that the summary of techniques and themes from post-colonial writing discussed, for example, in Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin, The Empire Writes Back,3 takes us a long way toward that analysis - indeed, it is almost as if Carey had read the text and set out to illustrate it.

In differentiating the writing of Salman Rushdie and other writers that he designates as "third world cosmopolitans" from "post-modernists", Timothy Brennan contrasts the metafictional devices of oral storytelling to the pastiche of post-modernism.4 Australian writers do not have a similar oral tradition to invoke (although Herbert in Illywhacker and Harry Joy in Bliss are characterised as storytellers). As Ashcroft, et al., observe, however, the writers from so-called settler colonies (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United States), attempting to escape the connotative baggage of a language evolved in another place and other times, have also been self-conscious about the nature of language and literature.5 This reflexivity is extended to question the validity of particular histories as well as other narratives, particularly the official (imperial) version of the history of the colony.6

They also list a number of metonymic themes which often appear in post-colonial writing: "the celebration of the struggle towards independence in community and individual", "the dominating influence of a foreign culture", "the construction or demolition of houses or buildings...(as) a...figure for the problematic of post-colonial identity", and "the European interloper through unfamiliar landscape with a native guide".7

Some of these are less relevant than others to settler colonies, but there has been also a number of concerns particularly relevant to such colonies:

the relationship between social and literary practices in the old world and the new (as discussed above); the relationship between the indigenous populations in settled areas and the invading settlers; and the relationship between the imported language and the new place. 8

Many of these themes play roles in Illywhacker and in Oscar and Lucinda, and they will pop up repeatedly in the discussions below. In addition, Australian literature in particular has made much of the concept of entrapment or imprisonment, reflecting a penal colony past.9 This theme also is prominent in the novels. Finally, Carey's style of engagement is not ultimately satire, even if it is occasionally satiric, but he does employ his central characters in a "satiric" manner - as vehicles of exposure. This also must be included in the analysis.

Part I. Illywhacker: Lies, Colonialism and Political History

Carey prefaces Illywhacker with a quote from Mark Twain that Australian history is like the most beautiful lies. In interview, Carey has linked that quotation with the argument that Australian history is, in fact, based on two lies: that the country was empty when the white people came, and that we are "proud and free and anti-authoritarian" now.10 The issue of lies and the unreliability of history as written are foregrounded in a number of ways in this novel - storyteller techniques, an unreliable narrator, a main protagonist who is a storyteller and liar, and innumerable substantive references to liars and lying in the text, in addition to overt statements that newspapers and history books do not provide the truth or even the facts.

In Illywhacker one metafictional device is authorial intervention - usually to label lies or liars, or to foreshadow future events or recall previous ones in the novel. This to-ing and fro-ing by the narrator is called prolepsis, which is itself the second technique. The third is embedding stories within stories, or intercalated stories (or extreme ecphrasis). This has to do with the concept of frame, which emphasises artificiality or createdness as well as interrelatedness and linkage.

All of these are oral story-telling devices as well, reminding us of the narrative function. The oral story tradition itself also calls into question the truth/non-truth distinction generally - "It was and it was not so"; "It happened and it never happened". Oral storytelling should also remind us, obviously, of The Arabian Nights, which in this context should remind us of the urgency of inventiveness and of postponing closure in political discourse - if Scheherazade does not keep the stories coming and maintain suspense, the result is execution.

A slightly different device is Herbert's role as unreliable narrator. As Helen Daniel has noted,11 Herbert presents the reader with the liar's paradox from the outset, telling us in the second paragraph of the novel, "I am a terrible liar and I have always been a liar".12

The paradox goes further. Herbert is a liar both as character in the story and as narrator. It is as narrator, for example, that he admits to being a liar, and even his "omniscient" commentary is not always truthful. As commentator he tells us that the appearance of Leah Goldstein in his life as Herbert the character will not introduce "hanky-panky" (p. 227), but of course it does, and he comments again to say that that was a lie (p. 303). As a character in the story, Herbert also lies and tells stories. That he is a liar is confirmed by the fact that other characters think that he is a liar, even minor characters that we do not get to know well enough to judge (e.g., p. 25). But, of course, Herbert is the narrator, and so we must rely on his telling us that other characters think him a liar, and so on.

If language is unreliable, lying is not always bad. Lying in a technical sense can have positive results, and imagination is essential to a sense of community.13 As Herbert says concerning his project to start a factory to make Australian aeroplanes, "You call it a lie. I call it a gift" (p. 34). Imagination provides the possibility for change, of there being or becoming something other than what is (p. 561). But lying to ourselves may also result in our accepting forms of colonialism, as in the case of the two basic Australian lies.

Herbert as character cannot be completely distinguished from Herbert as narrator. Certainly he is implicated in his own lying in his role as narrator. Also, however, he is identified as marginal when he "rips off a beauty" of a fart in the opening soliloquy (p. 11). In addition to being a liar and a storyteller, Herbert is a picaro - a traditional type of character in satires who travels about observing, and also learning to survive by and therefore reflecting, the evils of their societies.14 Like the good soldier Svejk and other notable picaros, Herbert is bow-legged, but otherwise he is physically attractive as a young man, and we have to wait for Oscar for a real scarecrow.

In good picaro tradition, Herbert is an orphan (informally adopted by a Chinese merchant, Goon), and he certainly wanders, walking all over New South Wales and parts of Victoria and Queensland. He also observes evil and remonstrates with its perpetrators - as he sees it - but does he reflect evil as well? Certainly he is encouraged in his lying (or storytelling), for, as he tells us, most people only like his "storytelling persona" (p. 79). As main protagonist he perhaps automatically gains reader sympathy, but he clearly reflects some of the evils of his society as well.

He reflects the self-centredness in the world around him by constantly remodelling - as a guest - to suit his own purposes, and perceiving objections simply as unreasonable opposition, comparing people who object with a widow's dog, Rooney, who has taken exception to him in the past. And, ultimately, he simply wants to be taken care of by his family - much to Leah's irritation and disappointment in him - thus justifying the finale of the novel of the human pet emporium. He has explained that he had to shrink as a person to fit into the gaol situation - not calling attention and retribution to oneself - and clearly his adaptation to the world around him in order to survive has reduced him to a much lesser person than Leah remembers.

We turn now from metafictional devices to consider the particular concerns of settler colonial literature. Self-consciousness about a language shared with the mother country is reflected in the variety of metafictional techniques discussed above. The relationship between old language and new space is not as prominent in Illywhacker. The size of the country is suggested by the wanderings of Herbert and Leah (and later of Herbert's son, Charles), and ultimately the contrast between Herbert and Leah centres on her revelling in the freedom provided by openness while he seeks the comfort of confinement.

Ways of using the language are underlined by Herbert's criticisms of the Anglophile Cocky Abbotts, father and son, the latter in particular being referred to by Herbert as "the imaginary Englishman" (pp. 125ff). Their imitative language is paralleled by their lack of imagination and failure to support Australian initiatives. But these are not central. Similarly, the topic of white relations with Indigenes is raised only peripherally in Leah's feeling that the land does not belong to her and other whites. This theme features much more prominently in Oscar and Lucinda..

Two of the metonymic themes mentioned by Ashcroft, et al. - the second and the third - are particularly obvious in Illywhacker. Foreign domination by the U.S., England, and ultimately Japan is tied to specific political and economic shortcomings in Australia. While references to the book as an economic history of Australia15 or as the history of capitalism in Australia16 are surely exaggerations, there is brief but overt mention of the depression of 1890, the short-changing of the working class in the 1920s and 1930s, the machinations of the ALP machine, the indignities of the welfare system, the fraudulence of Douglas Credit, the refusal of the newspapers to admit that people were starving during the Great Depression, and comparisons between Australian railroad police and conditions in Hitler's Germany.

Herbert is continually confronted by people who cannot believe that an Australian automobile could compete with an American one, and the latter are easier to sell. Nor will they believe that GM is not making "Australian" cars, although the deal is that the Australian government provides the capital, and GM repatriates the profits.

Similarly, those whom Herbert encounters in his efforts to start an Australian aeroplane factory assume that British ones are better and that Australians must crawl before walking - to which he retorts that if we start out crawling we will crawl forever, but to no avail. Nothing must be said against the English, for whom we fought and died, they say; my point precisely, he retorts, but without carrying the argument. Everything of value is taken over by American interests, including patents on inventions, because Australian banks will not support them.

At the end of the novel, Australians from all walks of life, including all the main characters, are exhibited in a human "pet emporium" financed by the Japanese. We are still colonised, and we let it happen.

The theme of constantly building houses is less obviously metonymic than overt references to foreign domination, but also features significantly in Illywhacker.17 Herbert is continually building houses. His wife, Phoebe, loves it, as non-permanent and therefore non-bourgeois (p. 162) and gypsy-like. In a similar vein, Leah and Herbert keep on the move not only because he is a picaro but because in her view it is not their country, making them something like wandering Jews. Herbert's role as picaro, including his orphan status, attach not only to his traditional literary role of satire but also emphasise the homelessness theme of post-colonialism.

Further, Herbert ruins the relationship with Phoebe, because he wants the normality of home and family (e.g., pp. 176, 191) - he is building explicitly to create family and community (p. 198) - and he precludes effective reunion with Leah toward the end of the novel because his desire for family takes the extreme form of simply wanting to be taken care of, i.e. of wanting to become a pet.

In addition to those themes common to post-colonial writing generally, I should mention the prison-entrapment theme that is particularly associated with Australian literature. Not only does Herbert spend a lengthy period actually in gaol (Harry Joy in Bliss only gets to the police station, but is incarcerated in an asylum), Charles' wife Emma lives in a pet cage in the emporium when it is still a pet store, and all the characters finish up encaged under what Thwaites has called the "gaze of tourism".18

A final comment on the idea of the human pet emporium seems appropriate, especially as Carey has made it clear that it was an originating image for the entire novel.19 Garcia Marquez has suggested, presumably ironically, that post-colonial fabulation (as in "magic realism") has to do with the exotic expectations that European whites have for the colonies. While Carey employs little fabulation in Illywhacker or Oscar and Lucinda in contrast to his short stories or even Bliss (the exception, in Illywhacker, is Goon's finger that Herbert keeps in a bottle and which is differently perceived at different times), the human pet emporium obviously serves the idea of a human zoo of exotics directly and overtly.

Part II. Oscar and Lucinda: Misunderstanding, Gender and Political History

Most of the themes that appear in Illywhacker appear in Oscar and Lucinda and vice versa, but the emphases certainly change. Whereas Illywhacker features lies, Oscar and Lucinda features misunderstandings, and whereas Illywhacker focuses on overt examples of continued foreign domination Oscar and Lucinda deals more centrally with the treatment of Indigenes and with the place of women in the post-colonial context.

We are told once at the outset of Oscar and Lucinda that official history is unreliable,20 but this overt message is not repeated in Oscar and Lucinda as it is in Illywhacker, and the metafictional techniques of prolepsis and intercalated stories also are absent. The major techniques, then, are an unreliable narrator, main characters as naifs, and the central motif of gambling as well as the thematic prominence of misunderstandings.

Oscar and Lucinda features an unreliable narrator, but not quite like the liar Herbert Badgery. At the end of the novel it is revealed that the narrator is a descendent of Oscar and Miriam Chadwick (p. 498). This is a surprise revelation, somewhat like the revelation at the end of Bliss that the narration has been by Harry and Barbara's children. As Ommundsen points out, it also means that we have an unreliable narrator, because such a narrator could not have known the story of Oscar and Lucinda.21 Oscar meets Miriam only at the very end of the novel and only for long enough to be seduced and, in guilt, exchange marriage vows and pledge worldly goods. It must, then, be fabricated, like stories (and history) in general.

While this device underlines the unreliability of history and other narratives, including the narrator's mother's "official" display of Oscar's picture as that of "the Reverend Oscar Hopkins (1841-1866)" (p.1), the central theme in Oscar and Lucinda is misunderstanding. I will argue below that both Oscar and Lucinda are naifs and as such carry specific purposes in the text. The point here is that together they carry the theme of misunderstanding that receives consistent reference throughout the novel, signifying the cultural disjunction and communication failures (different "languages") of post-colonialism. This is a topic anticipated in Illywhacker, including depiction of a consequential misunderstanding between Charles and Emma. But in Oscar and Lucinda the misunderstanding that keeps the two protagonists from declaring their love for each other is central. Lucinda lets Oscar think she loves Hasset so he will not think she is after him, and will spend time with her; this works too well: he believes it and keeps his silence, while she continues to resist being "too bold".

In one sense, then, both novels are, among other things, mock or aborted romances. In Illywhacker, Leah and Herbert separate when her estranged husband suffers a crippling accident and she returns to nurse him, and, in the interim, Herbert is sent to gaol for several years; but when they are finally reunited in Charles' pet emporium, nothing happens. In Oscar and Lucinda the misunderstanding keeps Lucinda and Oscar apart until Oscar attempts to deliver the glass church and dies inside it, rather than being resolved for a traditionally happy ending.

Oscar as a main male protagonist plays the role of naif - the innocent abroad or ingenue (similar to Harry in Bliss). As a traditional clown type he is physically unattractive and he is effectively an orphan (his mother is dead and while still a lad he leaves his father to live with the local clergyman). Although he travels from England to Australia, and all over South England before that, he remains wrapped in his own obsessions.

Unlike picaros, who expose by reflection, naifs expose by their inability to understand the way reality works. Oscar is not properly socialised and actually giggles.22 He does not hesitate to scrub the house with Lucinda even though even she initially sees it as "unmanly" (p. 360), and on the trip through the outback Oscar and Percy Smith are relegated to a wagon called "the Ladies Compartment" (p. 449). The implication, of course, is that real males should brave the elements - his badly sunburned face is not enough. In short, one might say that he has no sense of self in the world as a man, and perhaps for that very reason is seen by Lucinda as someone she could marry without betraying herself.

While Lucinda is aware of the difficulties she faces as a woman, she also functions as a naif, her difficulties being attributed to her mother's failure to socialise her properly as a female (p. 92). She also is an orphan (albeit not until almost the age of 18) and while presumably she is not meant to be funny looking she is insufficiently attractive for Hasset to marry (although Oscar, of course, thinks her beautiful). Primarily Lucinda carries the novel's commentary on the position of women, sometimes argued to be a condition of double colonisation or at least one parallel to colonisation.

Although there is an obvious sense in which the place of women is not specifically an Australian theme, in another sense it is. Carey has argued that Australian men are more sexist than European men,23 and as Lucinda's mother has written to a friend, when walking one can see in people's eyes how women are hated in New South Wales (p. 91). It should also be clear that the theme of the position of women exists as a theme per se, as well as participating in a form of post-colonial expression. In Oscar and Lucinda non-male is a central designation, and/but non-white and "unmanly" also play the role of Other.

Carey has commented that he did not really recognise sexism in Australia until his relationship with Alison Summers, and that recognition peaks in Oscar and Lucinda.. It is anticipated in Illywhacker, but with some ambiguity. Before Herbert meets Phoebe she has a lesbian relationship with her teacher that must have been quite unconventional for the time in which that part of the novel is ostensibly set (1919). Certainly Herbert is shocked - and jealous (p. 92), although he is delighted at Phoebe's active and unconventional participation in a roof top tryst that constitutes their first union, and which reads remarkably like male fantasy (pp. 83, 91)

Centrally, Herbert steals Leah's written interpretation of events and makes it his own from his own perspective - a fairly overt comment on the "male subjectivity of the text". But in the text Leah's complaint is thereafter simply ignored (by Herbert and by Carey alike). This tongue snatching relates in obvious ways to the theme of the male colonisation of females and also to history as fiction (or her-story as history).

In Oscar and Lucinda, Lucinda is in conflict with society because her mother failed to socialise her properly for her role as a woman. When her father dies she and her mother are treated by the "kindly" solicitor, Ahearn, as if children - he will sell up for them so they need not "worry their pretty heads" about the harvest, and Lucinda's mother has to struggle to prevent a will that leaves Lucinda's inheritance in trust until she is thirty.

When her mother then dies and she comes into her inheritance at 18, everyone is concerned to marry her off immediately. She escapes that fate, but finds herself caught between wanting to do, and the gender role in which she is trapped. She is bodily constrained, continually pressured to wear the lady-like (and impractical) apparel of the day, and, significantly, to shorten her stride when walking (by implication to reduce the space she inhabits and the confidence she displays) (p. 251).

She has to elicit assistance to purchase a glass factory, and once she owns it she can only visit it on a formally pre-announced basis, denied access to the camaraderie of male community that is offered to Oscar when he accompanies her to the factory. Her employees care about her (and therefore are pleased that she now seems to have a man), but in an extremely patronising way.

One form of control is explicitly the gaze of men in groups, as she identifies the difficulty of going to the glass factory to inspect it for purchase (p. 146); and when she goes to play fan-tan in a Chinese gambling den she is careful to step into the light immediately to declare the presence of a woman. Insufficiently socialised, she is policed in what Foucault called a capillary manner - the solicitor, O'Hagen, her chief glass blower, Arthur, and ultimately even her maid take it upon themselves to attempt to confine her within the realm of "appropriate behaviour". Labelled "spinster", she loses her reputation on the ship from England to Australia simply because the seasick Oscar must be removed from her stateroom near dawn, and loses it again in Sydney when she takes the de-frocked and sick Oscar into her home. She is marginalised and isolated, and her intelligence and quick wit are no match in the longer term for the physical and social solidity of Oscar's housekeeper, Mrs. Judd.

Whatever the other uses of gambling in the text, it serves Lucinda as a sanctuary, a structure within which there are the same rules for everyone - not least the attendant rules of social behaviour. Not only could she "forget herself"; she could be quiet without provoking comment and even beat a man at something "and not have to giggle and simper when one did it" (p. 227). In addition, the final wager about whether Oscar will get the glass church to Bellingen by Palm Sunday gives her a chance to "correct" her relationship with Oscar - by losing her fortune to him while expecting that will bring them together or at least allow them to get together.

At this stage, the motif of gambling should be discussed more fully. While clearly "post-colonial" concerns do not exhaust the gambling motif in Oscar and Lucinda any more than they exhaust these two rich novels in general, that motif does contribute to Carey's "post-colonial" purposes in a number of ways. First, as Ommundsen observes, game structures are common devices for reflexive commentary, contributing to a metafictional reading of Oscar and Lucinda.24 More substantively, this motif relates to Oscar's characterisation as well as to Lucinda's. He sees belief in God, and therefore life in general, as a wager, and Pascal's Wager is alluded to overtly in the text. Oscar, after all, throws lots and flips coins to seek God's advice about major life choices. Part of his naivete is his literal religious belief. And for both Lucinda and Oscar, perhaps, gambling provides a fatalistic relief from choices.

From another angle, Carey may be setting gambling off against religion and respectable bourgeois society in its role as one of three social pathologies - along with sex and drink. It is often considered anti-Christian to gamble, of course, and offensive to bourgeois sensibilities and work ethic (as evidenced by Vagrancy, Gaming and Other Offences legislation in Australia) - because it either ruins people financially or promises something for nothing - in contrast to "honest toil", a contrast also applied to prostitution.

If we turn now to the list of concerns common to settler colonial literature, self-consciousness is again reflected in metafictional devices, and the issue of settler-Indigenes relations comes to the forefront. The lie at the base of Australian history that the country was empty when the whites arrived is treated more fully. Numerous characters express the view that the Aborigines are beyond Christian hope and that Oscar would be wasting his time as a missionary, while revealing nevertheless a deep-seated fear of blacks even in their defeated state. The elderly "lady", Mrs. Burrows, is not a-typical when she advocates the "bye-bye damper" solution of poisoned food (p. 160), and all blacks encountered by Jeffris and his party are massacred. This echoes the early (p. 2) observation that the name Darkwood did not derive from the colour of the foliage but rather its earlier name of Darkies Point, whence Aborigines were pushed to their death.

Lucinda thinks of her inheritance as taken from the land, and therefore as in some sense stolen from the blacks (e.g., p. 126), but even her "kind romantic" father could kill blacks (p. 92). Helen Daniel observes that the glass church cracks and crazes in Aboriginal landscape,25 while Carey himself has suggested that the progress of Christianity as represented physically by the glass church brings death to Aborigines.26 Metonymic themes of entrapment and, from the Ashcroft, et al., list, identity/homelessness and the European interloper also figure prominently. Lucinda is entrapped in the social conventions and expectations of the day, "even without whalebone and elastic". Oscar is fairly consistently physically entrapped - below deck in the ship because of his seasickness and fear of water, in D'Abbs' clerks room, as a virtual prisoner of Jeffris when transporting the glass church, and finally in the church itself where he drowns.

Oscar is no picaro, but he is clearly homeless, leaving his father's home as a young boy, losing his parsonage in Australia, and so on, while Lucinda cannot be at home in her place and times. Both Oscar and Lucinda, and Miriam Chadwick, are orphans as well, as Carey emphasises by calling one of his chapters "The Orphans".

Finally, we have the journey into the outback with the glass church, perhaps very close to the metonymic theme of the European interloper traversing strange territory with a native guide. Clearly this does not quite fit; Oscar is from England and the landscape is unfamiliar and harsh, but Jeffris is not a native guide except in the sense of being an Australian rather than a European. Better still, as Daniel reminds us (although again without elaboration), we have here a Conradian journey into the heart of darkness.27

The "message" of Heart of Darkness, of course, is that it is "we" Europeans who are the savages, that it is in our own hearts that the darkness lies. In Oscar and Lucinda it is the white Australian Jeffris who leads the expedition and massacres any Aborigines encountered on the way. Oscar finds he cannot stand up to or otherwise cope with Jeffris until he finally kills him while delirious, which itself is hardly a happy solution for Oscar. This is not, then, simply quest as nightmare, but truly a Conradian journey into darkness. It also confirms our reading of Carey as post-colonial rather than post-modern in that an identifiable Other (or Others) is conceptualised in confrontation with a conceptualised centre.28

Oscar and Lucinda has been described as postcolonial not least because of its invocation of nineteenth century English literature, including especially and explicitly use of Edmund Gosse's Father and Son.29 Callahan has gone further, raising the question of whether this novel marks a coming of age of Australian literature allowing an easy assumption of relationship between Australian and English literature superseding the need to deny with vehemence English cultural authority.30 In his construction of an extremely subtle argument focussing on the ironic overlays of Carey's uses of Gosse and the latter's autobiographical work, Callahan suggests that Carey's purpose is to raise the question of whether Australian independence has not simply resulted in "the rape of the land, the marginalisation of the Native Australians, and the denial of the feminine".31 This interpretation by Callahan is not unassailable; while hardly subtle, a reading which designates Oscar's loving conflict with his father as metonymic for Australian/English relations is convincing. It does, however, remind us of the importance in post-colonialism not only of the residual effects of colonialism but also of the use to which independence has been applied, and especially whether colonial victims have become post-colonial victimisers.

University of Queensland


1 "Peter Carey Interview with David Sexton", Literary Review No. 84, June 1985.

2 A.J. Hassall, "Telling Lies and Stories: Peter Carey's Bliss", Modern Fiction Studies 35(4), Winter 1989, p. 643, but admittedly Bliss is closer to satire than Illywhacker or Oscar and Lucinda. For a study of literary attempts at political satire in a post-modern context, see M.D. Fletcher, Contemporary Political Satire (Lanham: University Press of America, 1987).

3 Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin, The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures (London: Routledge, 1989).

4 Timothy Brennan, Salman Rushdie and the Third World (New York: St. Martin, 1989), p. 223.

5 Ashcroft, et al., pp. 137ff.

6 Ibid., p. 34.

7 Ibid., pp. 27, 28.

8 Ibid., p. 135.

9 This is a common observation. See, e.g., Graeme Turner, National Fictions (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1986); and, with specific reference to Carey, Hassall, "Telling Lies and Stories"; Graeme Turner, "American Dreaming: The Fictions of Peter Carey", Australian Literary Studies 12( 41), October 1986.

10 "Carey gives the lie to some old lies", The Canberra Times, 21 August 1985, p. 27. The first of these "lies" is raised directly in Illywhacker p. 307.

11 Helen Daniel, "Lies for Sale: Peter Carey" in Liars: Australian New Novelists (Ringwood: Penguin, 1988), is perhaps the best analysis of Carey's work and provides a number of powerful insights about Carey's fiction, although often she does not seem to follow through to consolidate suggestive comments. See also Daniel, "'The Liar's Lump'", Southerly 47 (2), June 1986, for a discussion of Illywhacker similar to that in Liars.

12 Peter Carey, Illywhacker (St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1985), p.11. Subsequent references are given in the text.

13 Cf. Graeme Turner, "American Dreaming".

14 Curiously, Daniel characterises Illywhacker as picaresque and compares it to Peter Mathers' The Wort Papers, but does not link that characterisation to satiric purposes.

15 Paul Sharrad, "Responding to the Challenge: Peter Carey and the Reinvention of Australia", SPAN, No. 25, October 1985.

16 Kenneth Gelder,"History, Politics and the (Post)Modern", Meanjin 47(3), Spring 1988.

17 Ashcroft, et al, list Bliss as an example.

18 Tony Thwaites, "More Tramps at Home", Meanjin 46(3), September 1987, p. 408.

19 "Carey and the Cringe (Interview)", The Weekend Australian, 20Â21 February 1988.

20 Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda (St.Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1988), p. 2. Subsequent references are given in the text.

21 Wenche Ommundsen, "Narrative Navel-Gazing", Southern Review 22(3), November 1989, p.269. Ommundsen also points out that Daniel misses this point despite the focus of her study as indicated by the title Liars p.271.

22 Carey comments on this in an interview, "The Contradictory Character of Peter Carey", Harper's Bazaar Australia Summer 1989.

23 "Peter Carey Interview with Alison Summers", The National Times 1-7, November 1985.

24 Ommundsen, op.cit., pp. 269, 271; compare Daniel's unconvincing reference to a Dostoeveskian acceptance of risk. Ommundsen also mentions allusions to glass constructions as reflexive, although without great detail. Clearly, the concept of the Prince Rupert drop embodies fragility as well as beauty, and the glass church is entrapping - figuratively and physically - rather than the doorway to other worlds that mirrors may provide in traditional fantasy.

25 Daniel, "Lies for Sale" p. 184.

26 Mark Roberts, "Profile Peter Carey", Australian Left Review No. 108, December/January 1988/89.

27 Daniel, "Lies for Sale", p. 181. See also Rod Edmond, "From the Victorian to the Post-Colonial Novel", Australian Studies No. 3, December 1989. Post-Colonial versions of Heart of Darkness are not uncommon; see, for example, Diana Brydon's argument on Atwood's Surfacing in "'The Thematic Ancestor': Joseph Conrad, Patrick White and Margaret Atwood", World Literature Written in English 24(2), Autumn 1984; and Simon During's analysis of Apocalypse Now as a postmodern (as opposed to post-colonial) rendering of Heart of Darkness in "Postmodernism or Post-colonialism Today", Textual Practice, 1(1), Spring 1987.

28 Again, contrast During's analysis of a "postmodern" Heart of Darkness in "Postmodernism or Post-colonialism Today".

29 E.G., Edmond, "From the Victorian to the Post-Colonial Novel".

30 David Callahan, "Peter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda and the Subversion of Subversion", Australian Studies, No. 4, December 1990. 31 Ibid., p. 26. and, 1989.

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