The Significance of Littoral in Beverley Farmer’s Novel The Seal Woman


The sea is the amniotic fluid of our 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.

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Published 1 November 2009 in Manifesting Australian Literary Feminisms: Nexus and Faultlines. Subjects: Feminism, Beverley Farmer.

Cite as: Collett, Anne. ‘The Significance of Littoral in Beverley Farmer’s Novel The Seal Woman.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 24, no. 3-4/, 2009, doi: 10.20314/als.2b678f31d2.