Mal du Pays: Symbolic Geography in the Work of Randolph Stow


The refrain of Randolph Stow's 'Outrider' echoes throughout his work as a central, counterpointed theme. Like a descant moving further and further away from its emotional and geographic base, the principal literary consciousness finds itself in a spatial estrangement from its remembered world, which floods the inner ear with a dissonant 'grievous music' played upon the heartstrings. I wish in the following to dwell upon some implications of this 'grievous music' in Stow's work: not only in terms of its tone, but also in terms of its perception of the human condition and especially its evocation of a spatio-temporal world.

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Published 1 May 1991 in Volume 15 No. 1. Subjects: Landscape & identity, Nostalgia, Place & identity, Randolph Stow.

Cite as: Leer, Martin. ‘Mal du Pays: Symbolic Geography in the Work of Randolph Stow.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 15, no. 1, 1991, doi: 10.20314/als.487c6e32e8.