Metamorphic Malouf

Jose, N (2014) 'Metamorphic Malouf.' Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, 14 (2). ISSN 1833-6027

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David Malouf’s work is notable for the range and mix of genres it encompasses (including poem, novel, novella, short story, essay, memoir, play, libretto, translation, review). Parts of his fiction approach autobiography or the essay; his essays range from personal memory and travel to social and cultural commentary, and beyond; his fiction is historical, fabulist, naturalistic and poetic in turn. Some of his works adapt existing works into another form: novel to opera: Greek or Latin into English. One of his most celebrated works, 'An Imaginary Life', recreates the life of the poet of 'Metamorphoses'. A metamorphic quality or interest or theme reappears throughout Malouf’s writing, exemplified nowhere better than in his ‘Seven Last Words of the Emperor Hadrian’, a set of variations. Yet Malouf has also spoken of the way each new part of an author’s ‘body of work’ extends what has gone before, adding to it coherently, as if that body of work is one evolving thing. In other words, the change from one thing to another (one form, one mode, one kind) does not seem to change a pervasive unity (underlying, overarching). This is the paradox of the one and the many as they relate artistically and conceptually to each other. The paper explores Malouf’s metamorphic vision by focussing on his understanding of opera, the most mixed of art forms, as risky, dream-like, miraculous, communal.

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Divisions: School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
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Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2016 13:35
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2022 15:49
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