The sea is the amniotic fluid ofour gestation as individuals and as a species, and the watery grave of drowned men. When we crawled out onto dry land the umbilical cord was cut and we lost the right of return to the mother - gills became lungs. But the myth of the seal woman - the selkie - is a myth that perpetuates the possibility of a shared space in which there is flow between antithetical worlds. With whimsical reference to 'sea sonnets' from A Beachcomber's Diary, by Australian poet John Blight, this essay offers some thoughts on the transformative possibility of the littoral in Beverley Farmer's novel The Seal Woman, and a brief discussion of Farmer's particular deployment of littoral as feminine or even feminist.
Published 1 November 2009 in Manifesting Australian Literary Feminisms: Nexus and Faultlines. Subjects: Feminism, Beverley Farmer.