The Literary Destruction of Canberra : Utopia, Apocalypse and the National Capital

Abstract

The article examines the contradictory responses to the national capital in the Australian imagination: planned along utopian lines, Canberra has been seen as a failed utopia, a city ‘widely unloved and often derided as the most un-Australian of Australian cities’ (78). In seeking to understand this tension, the article examines the literary representation of the capital in some fictional narratives in which ‘Canberra is literally or symbolically destroyed’, above all in works by McGahan and Halligan.

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Published 1 May 2009 in Volume 24 No. 1. Subjects: Built environment - Literary portrayal, Cities, Destruction, Utopianism.

Cite as: Smith, Russell. ‘The Literary Destruction of Canberra : Utopia, Apocalypse and the National Capital.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 24, no. 1, 2009. https://doi.org/10.20314/als.8b5e71678d.