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Parallactic History: On Peter Carey's "Lies," "Writing Back," and "Archivation" in Illywhacker, Jack Maggs, and True History of the Kelly Gang



Having helped push Australian literature onto the international stage, Peter Carey is recognized as a critically acclaimed author for his keen observation on the national naivete of his country and the identity predicament of his people. While most scholarship derives mainly from these observations in their varied ramifications, this article focuses on Carey's suggestion of the ways in which Australian history is to be viewed by delving into Illywhacker, Jack Maggs, and True History of the Kelly Gang. In Illywhacker, Carey dismantles the ontological demarcation between the gazing and the gazed upon by tackling the issue of deception in both its personal and national scale. In Jack Maggs, his reconfiguration of an otherwise marginalized character serves as a contrapuntal register that counterbalances the crescendo of imperial discourse in the nineteenth century. In True History of the Kelly Gang, the apparently objective archive perceived as problematizing authoritativeness and sharing intimate secrecy with the public renders possible a contingent sense of (non)belonging in the face of the hasted national mythologization of a historical figure. With the three novels in question, we are able to catch a glimpse of the way Carey lays stress on reading, seeing, and interpreting parallactically, wherein a revisionist history is allowed room to mature.

Parallel abstracts

談及澳大利亞文學,彼得.凱瑞是當前盛譽最豐的小說家之一。除了獲得諾貝爾文學獎殊榮的派屈克.懷特(Patrick White)之外,兩度獲頒布克獎的凱瑞將澳大利亞文學成功推向國際舞台。然而,凱瑞大部分的作品仍舊著重在對於澳洲這塊原鄉土壤的探討。本文藉由三個文本來說明凱瑞的澳大利亞文學體系:相較於他一直以來勤於對抗的「正史」,其小說呈現出來的「視差」觀點重新檢視了各式殖民共謀文本所生產出的歷史。在《大謊言家》裡,敘述者赫柏特.貝德杰瑞(Herbert Badgery)所操弄的謊言是對新舊帝國的戲仿。不過,亟欲逃離帝國控制並尋求澳洲屬性的貝德杰瑞祖孫三代最終卻在不同程度上淪為人類動物園中的「物」,供人觀賞。如果說凱瑞早期的《大謊言家》是他黑色幽默筆觸之下對於大英宗主國的邊緣控訴,那麼《傑克.麥葛思》則直接將場景拉往一個與澳洲這塊落後邊疆(outback)相對照的帝國中心。狄更斯筆下命運多舛的流放犯亞伯.麥戈濰奇(Abel Magwitch),在凱瑞的小說裡終於尋覓了在新大陸的身份歸屬感。在這本小說裡,凱瑞以逆寫帝國的敘述視角呈現澳洲作為移居者國度的後殖民面相。在二十一世紀之初出版的《凱利幫真史》當中,凱瑞選擇不在帝國文本的基礎上建築一個新的認同,而是讓主角凱利的人格特質在不符英語語法的話語之下自行增生,而凱利的愛爾蘭裔身份則讓這本小說在認同議題上較前二者複雜。此部份將討論該作品的「檔案化」如何使小說在解構凱利的國族神話的同時,避免築起另一種關於凱利的神話形象。透過此三類彼此敘述形式相異、卻又在主題內容上相互指涉的文本,讀者得以一窺凱瑞作品中對於過往兩個世紀殖民歷史的去中心視角。

Parallel keywords

澳大利亞文學 視差歷史 謊言 回寫 檔案化


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Bird, Delys. “New Narrations: Contemporary Fiction.” The Cambridge Companion to Australian Literature, edited by Elizabeth Webby, Cambridge UP, 2000, pp. 183-208.
Carey, Peter. Illywhacker. Vintage International, 1996.
Carey, Peter. Interview with Ramona Koval. “The Unexamined Life.” Meanjin, vol. 56, no. 3, 1997, p. 9. Academic Search Elite, search.epnet.com/direct.asp?an=313876&db= afh. Accessed 8 July 2021.
Carey, Peter. Jack Maggs. Faber and Faber, 1997.