Fiction for the Creeping City: A Literary Geography of the Postwar Melbourne Novel


James McGregor
 Geography and Planning, UNE

Thursday, July 30, 1 – 2 pm

C02 Lecture Theatre

Earth Sciences Building 

 Exchanges between literary scholars and human geographers over recent decades have seen the emergence of the inter-discipline “literary geography”. Literary geography expanded with the spatial turn in geography and cultural studies, but has more recently been animated by a growth in quantitative methods in literary studies. It remains a movement that encourages creative applications of geographic methods, especially given the resistance its subject matter (fiction) doggedly maintains to fixed readings and rigid interpretations.

This seminar explores the possibilities of literary geography via readings of the novel-length fiction of postwar Melbourne. Melbourne was a highly productive centre for Australian writing during the 1940s, 50s and 60s. But the reception of much of that writing is still constrained by the reputations and standards administered by literary scholars at the time. A literary-geographic approach offers a viable way of releasing the richness of postwar Melbourne’s fiction, while revealing its value as a resource for urban history and analysis.