Richard Flanagan: Critical Essays
Richard Flanagan: Critical Essays
Edited by Robert Dixon
Sydney University Press
ISBN: 9781743325827

Richard Flanagan: Critical Essays is the first book to be published about the life and work of this major world author. Written by twelve leading critics from Australia, Europe and North America, these richly varied essays offer new ways of understanding Flanagan’s contribution to Tasmanian, Australian and world literature.

Flanagan’s fictional worlds offer empathetic, often poignant, renderings of those whose voices have been lost beneath official accounts of history, stories from a small region that have made their mark on a global scale. Considering his seven novels as well as his non-fiction, journalism and correspondence, this collection examines the historical and geographical factors that have shaped Flanagan’s representation of Tasmanian identity.

Together they offer new insights into a determinedly regional writer, and the impact that he has had on a local, national and global scale.

About the editor

Robert Dixon, FAHA, is professor of Australian literature at the University of Sydney.


  • Introduction: the novels of Richard Flanagan, by Robert Dixon and Liliana Zavaglia
  • Circles of violence: historical Constellations in ‘Death of a River Guide’ and ‘The Sound of One Hand Clapping’, by Robert Dixon
  • Greening a narrative mode: antipodean magical realism and ecocriticism in Richard Flanagan's fiction, by Ben Holgate
  • Smashing and singing and sobbing and howling: sound and Richard Flanagan's Tasmania, by Joseph Cummins
  • Spatial anxieties: tourists, settlers and Tasmania's affective economies of belonging in ‘A Terrible Beauty’, ‘Death of a River Guide’ and ‘Gould's Book of Fish’, by Laura A. White
  • Rewriting History: ‘Gould's Book of Fish’, by Bill Ashcroft
  • Richard Flanagan's ‘post-post’ and the mapping of the altermodern, by Salhia Ben-Messahel
  • Contestations of authority: Richard Flanagan's Australian biofictions, by Marc Delrez
  • The genealogy of wanting, by Margaret Harris
  • Terror, paranoia and manipulation: the politics of fear in ‘The Unknown Terrorist’, by Nathanael O'Reilly
  • Sydney, a city without love: the unknown terrorist in ‘The Unknown Terrorist’, by Theodore F. Sheckels
  • ‘Fireless flame gone amorous’: war amid love in ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’, by Nicholas Birns
  • ‘Out of the tear-drenched land’: transnational sites of memory in ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’, by Liliana Zavaglia
  • Index
  • Sydney Studies in Australian Literature

    The Sydney Studies in Australian Literature series publishes original, peer-reviewed research in the field of Australian literature. The series comprises monographs devoted to the works of major authors and themed collections of essays about current issues in the field of Australian literary studies. The series offers well-researched and engagingly written re-evaluations of the nature and importance of Australian literature, and aims to reinvigorate its study both in Australia and internationally.

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