Reading Landscape in Gerald Murnane's 'The Plains'
(2013) 2 Exegesis 4
10 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2018
Date Written: January 1, 2013
Gerald Murnane has long been a writer’s writer in Australia, with a relatively modest readership, but all that has changed recently with a spate of awards and a Nobel Prize nomination. The rise in Murnane’s public profile was confirmed last year when the American republication of two of his novels was marked by an essay-length review in The New York Review of Books by Nobel laureate and fellow antipodean, J. M. Coetzee. In spite of Murnane’s recent ascent to international prominence there remains very little critical discussion of his work outside of Australia and the two small enclaves of his admirers in Sweden and the United States. This essay hopes to go some way to rectifying this state of affairs by drawing prospective readers’ attention to the unique treatment of the physical environment in Murnane’s classic Australian novel, The Plains. Particular attention will be paid to the way Murnane’s characters interpret their environment and the ontological understandings they reach as a result of this interpretative process.
Keywords: Gerald Murnane, Australian fiction, landscape, geo-theory, interpretation
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