Fringe Finds Focus: Developments and Strategies in Aboriginal Writing in English


Instead of regarding most Aboriginal writing as being merely 'a darker shade of pale' (168) this essay is an attempt to study it, as well as Aboriginality, in the light of change, as a process in which a modern cultural self is being explored. Every change of image, it seems, has been conducive to the forging of a pan-Aboriginal ethnogenesis based on the cultural or generic heritage as well as on contemporary politics. As a matter of fact, this approach is indebted to earlier, rather disregarded, criticism by Narogin which divides Aboriginal literature into phases such as a movement away, a process of disillusionment and search, and a 'homecoming and re-entry. A return from exile and alienation into Aboriginality' (Aboriginal Writing Today 29). While it is clearly no task for a white critic to determine what writer is most 'Aboriginal'—in that respect culture is copyright—the following is based on the assumption that identity is not something entirely immutable, it is a matter of naming.

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Published 1 June 1991 in European Perspectives: Contemporary Essays on Australian Literature. Subjects: Aboriginal assimilation (Government policy), Aboriginal literature, Aboriginal literature - Portrayal of White culture, Aboriginal self determination.

Cite as: Knudsen, Eva Rask. ‘Fringe Finds Focus: Developments and Strategies in Aboriginal Writing in English.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 15, no. 2, 1991, doi: 10.20314/als.687e451618.