An Imaginary Life: The Dimensions of Self


I propose in this paper to exercise the critic's prerogative (duty?) of articulating an artist's intuitions about his own work into a more formal and public discussion of its themes, structure, style, implication. Malouf's stress on exile, language, the perceiving self as fundamental aspects of his novel will remain basic elements in my own argument, as I seek to move personal response into the domain of public debate; his sense of An Imaginary Life as a watershed in his own development I shall translate into the claim that the novel is nothing less than one of the classics of our literature.

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Published 1 May 1989 in Volume 14 No. 1. Subjects: Literary portrayal, Literary techniques, structures & modes, Writer's recognition & popularity, David Malouf.

Cite as: Heseltine, Harry Payne. ‘An Imaginary Life: The Dimensions of Self.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, 1989, doi: 10.20314/als.3bafda9f83.