Richard Flanagan’s Dialogic Re-Reading of Tasmanian Identity in Death of a River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Gould’s Book of Fish and Wanting
||Department of English
the Third Space
||塔斯馬尼亞長久以來就被認定是一個沒有文化與歷史的化外之地。理查．傅納崗﹙Richard Flanagan﹚在《一個遊河嚮導之死》一書當中也指出塔斯馬尼亞經常被刻意塑造為充滿詭異又神秘恐怖的地方﹙grotesque Gothic horrorland﹚，是一個完全不受理性規範的異類空間。這種負面的刻板印象來自於十八世紀的殖民時期，當時英國殖民政府以簡單粗糙的黑白二元論述來鞏固其中心位置，同時又把殖民地的人民及他們的文化排除在外，並且將其歸類為野蠻落後的他者。殖民者和被殖民者的身份只能以中心—邊緣的關係來解釋，並且以穩定不變的形式存在著。在這個由二元論述構成的權力結構中，殖民者總是能以建立一個現代進步的國家認同的理由來合理化一切對殖民地的剝削和殘害。傅納崗指出這個二元論述的思考架構即使到了今天仍然存在，塔斯馬尼亞的人民和文化的邊緣處境依然沒有任何改善。傅納崗在《一個遊河嚮導之死》﹙Death of a River Guide﹚、《隻手回聲》﹙The Sound of One Hand Clapping﹚、《古爾德魚書》﹙Gould’s Book of Fish﹚以及《慾》﹙Wanting﹚四本書當中都談到了這個主題。本論文主要在探討傅納崗如何以這四本小說檢視二元論述的主流價值並試圖以多元文化的角度重新詮釋歷史。
第一章探討殖民論述如何掌控歷史的詮釋權，壓抑並貶低塔斯馬尼亞的身份認同。啟蒙思想當中直線進步的敘述〈linear-progressive narrative〉、工具理性〈instrumental rationality〉和階序〈hierarchies〉的概念即是殖民者用來編造普世價值並且建立分類機制的依據，其主要目的不外乎是將現實世界的一切簡化，聲稱單一且僵化的歷史詮釋，藉以掩蓋被殖民者文化特殊的屬性並且消除其發言權。
||It is all known that Tasmania is very often stereotyped as a primeval land without history and culture. In Death of a River Guide, Flanagan notes Tasmania has long been represented as a “grotesque Gothic horrorland” (132) where darkness and evil are rampant. This negative stereotype can be traced back to the period of British colonial rule in which the colonial narrative used some simple binary logic to categorize Tasmania as the inferior Other and then stereotyped it as backward and uncivilized. What makes it sad is this negative stereotype constantly serves to justify any attempts to exploit Tasmania in the name of civilizing it. As a writer who was born and grew up in Tasmania, Flanagan attempts to reverse this negative stereotype, and that can be seen in Flanagan’s books which clearly show his concern over the silenced voice of Tasmania. They are: Death of a River Guide (1997), The Sound of One Hand Clapping (1998), Gould’s Book of Fish (2001), and Wanting (2008). This dissertation tries to explore how Flanagan uses these books to serve as a great resource to create an alternative interpretation of history and open up new possibilities for social justice and equality.
In Chapter One I use the nineteenth century colonial discourse as an example to explain how dominant narrative misrepresents and devalues Tasmanian culture. I indicate that, through a total control of the means of representation, this colonial narrative categorized Tasmania as essentially inferior in a hierarchical and imbalanced power structure and represented Tasmania as an inferior other who was morally and culturally degenerated. I will be discussing how the colonial narrative used the Enlightenment ideas, especially the taxonomic hierarchies and the linear historiography, to impose a universal and unified worldview so as to strip out the particularity of the Tasmanian culture. With the great help of the taxonomic hierarchies and the linear worldview, the colonial powers constructed a biased understanding of Tasmania, and it has repressed and distorted Tasmania’s identity even until today.
Chapter Two will be centered on Flanagan’s anti-historical and resistance attempts against the dominant discourse. I will take a close look at Flanagan’s questioning of the purity of European cultures and his efforts to develop a perspective outside the Western interpretation: an alternative historiography to contrast the linear worldview constructed by the mainstream discourse. My focus is on how Flanagan challenges the linear Western worldview and its authorial interpretation of reality by using a circular mode of narrative to retell and redefine the long-lost stories of the peripheral people whose voices are repressed and silenced by their imposed inferiority in unbalanced power relations. Flanagan later juxtaposes the two contradictory cultures, Western and Tasmanian, to create a dialogic re-reading of Tasmanian identity and a more comprehensive understanding of history. Here I use Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of dialogism to explain the co-existence of various communities and groups and the incessant interaction and exchange between them. This chapter emphasizes that there is no unitary identity in the force field of history, but a variety of identities which coexist and interact with each other as if in a dialogue.
Chapter Three explores the possibility of negotiating a space to reverse the existing power relations. Instead of a closed power system that shuts down any communication with the other cultures, a space for a dialogue between the two opposites in the power hierarchy is a must to create newness and changes. I will discuss how Flanagan uses transnational, transracial and transcultural interactions, especially the diasporic experience, to illustrate the concept of cultural plurality. Concepts like contact zone and Third Space will be applied to explain the construction of diverse identities in Flanagan’s novels. These concepts are helpful in explaining the process of dialogic interaction in which different influences interact and compete with each other to create a new and hybrid form of culture.
This dissertation concludes that the myth of a unified identity is incapable of explaining the complex realities of the real world in Tasmania, and the quest of a unified identity would inevitably lead to the suppression of the minority voice. Actually, identity is never static. It is always in the process of becoming and tends to be unpredictable and uncertain because it is subject to continual and never-ending negotiation, struggle, and contestation that underlie human history.
Chinese Abstract iii
English Abstract iv
Table of Contents vi
List of Abbreviations viii
Introduction: An Alternative Re-Reading of Tasmanian Identity 1
The Structure of the Thesis 2
Brief Overview of the Novels Written by Flanagan 19
Chapter One: The Imperialist Mapping of Tasmania 26
The Experiment of a New Europe —“Nova Venezia” 28
Enlightenment Thinking and the Linear Histriography 30
Panoptical Control and Hierarchical Racial Classification 41
Linnaean Classification of Plants and Animals 45
Phrenological Taxonomy 50
Christianity and Panoptical Surveillance 53
Chapter Two: Resistance against the Unitary Language 63
Debasement and Rejection of the Eurocentric Thinking 65
Subversion of the Unitary Language 71
The Use of Unanswerability to Reconstruct the Past 75
Non-Linear Narration vs. Linear Narration 81
Digressive Storytelling 82
Erroneous Perception of Reality 86
The Practice of Magic Realism 94
The One and Only Interpretation vs. the Multiple Co-Existing Meanings 97
Chaos Theory and the Unified Interpretations 98
Bakhtinian Idea of Heteroglot Languages 100
Chapter Three: Hybridity and Diversity 104
Identity as an Ever-Changing and Hybrid Entity 107
Argot vs. Standard Language 111
Creolization of Christianity 113
Identity as a Site of Contestation: The Third Space and Contact Zone 115
Diasporic Experience and Hybridity 120
Hybridity in the Creation of Transcultural Forms 125
Hybridization of Language 126
Mixed Food Habits 131
Hybridized Art Forms 138
Works Cited 146
||Abram, David. The Spell of the Sensuous. New York: Vintage, 1996.
Appadurai, Arjun. Modernity at Large. Minneapolis: Minnesota UP, 1996.
Ashcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin. Post-colonial Studies: Key Concepts. London and New York: Routledge, 1998.
Bakhtin, M. M.. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays by M. M. Bakhtin. Eds. and trans. C. Emerson and M. Holoquist. Austin: Texas UP, 1981.
---. Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics. Ed. and trans. C. Emerson, Manchester: Manchester UP, 1984.
Bauman, Zygmunt. “From Pilgrim to Tourists—or a Short History of Identity.” Questions of Cultural Identity. Eds. Stuart Hall and Paul du gay. London: Sage, 1996. 18-36.
---. Globalization: The Human Consequences. New York: Columbia UP, 1998.
Benjamin, Walter. “The Task of the Translator.” Illuminations. Ed. Hannah Arendt. Trans. Harry Zohn. New York: Schocken, 1969. 69-82.
Bhabha, Homi. “Interview with Homi Bhabha: The Third Space.” Identity: Community, Culture, Difference. Ed. Jonathan Rutherford. London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1990. 207-21.
---. The Location of Culture. London and New York: Routledge, 1994.
Bonner, Richard. “Tasmanian Literary Prize Shunned by Its Originator.” Rev. of The New York Times. 22 Apr. 2003
Boyd, William. “Saints and Savages.” The New York Times 28 June 2009
Brady, Veronica. “’Teach Us to Care and Not to Care’: Settling into Australia at Last.” Australia—Who Cares? Ed. David Callahan. API Network: Perth: 2007. 15-24.
Chambers, Iain. Migrancy, Culture, Identity. London and New York: Routledge, 1994.
Charles, Ron. “Charles Dickens, Defender of Civilization.” The Washington Post 27 May 2009
Clark, Katerina, and Michael Holquist. Mikhail Bakhtin. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984.
Clifford, James. Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1997.
Dawson, Charles. “Writing the Memory of Rivers: Story, Ecology and Politics in Some Contemporary River Writing.” Diss. The University of British Columbia, 1999.
Delrez, Marc. “Nationalism, Reconciliation, and the Cultural Genealogy of Magic in Richard Flanagan’s Death of a River Guide.” Commonwealth Literature. 42:1 (2007) 117-129.
Dentith, Simon. Bakhtinian Thought: An Introductory Reader. London and New York: Routledge, 1995.
Dougherty, Victoria. “Latino Immigrants and Culinary Traditions: The Impact of Food Practices on Cultural Identities.” MA thesis. California State University, Dominguez Hills, 2002.
Eagleton, Terry. After Theory. New York: Basic Books, 2003.
Fasman, Jon. “Lives of an Australian Aborigine, and Arctic Explorer’s Wife and Charles Dickens Intertwine.” Rev. of Wanting, by Richard Flanagan. Los Angeles Times 10 May. 2009
Flanagan, Richard. “Return the People’s Pedder!,” The Rest of the Word Is Watching. Eds. Canssandra Pybus and Richard Flanagan. Sydney: Pan MacMillan, 1990. 194-212.
---. Death of a River Guide. New York: Grove Press, 1994
---. The Sound of One Hand Clapping. New York: Grove Press, 1997.
---. “Does Tasmania have a Future?” Island 72-73 (Spring/Summer 1997): 134-58.
---. Gould’s Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish. New York: Grove Press, 2001.
---. ”A Chat with Richard Flanagan about The Sound of One Hand Clapping.” CNN 4 Apr. 2000
---. “Tasmania” New York Times 12 Sep. 2004
---. Wanting. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2008.
---. Interview with Jamie Kornegay.
---. Postscript of Wanting.
Foucult, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: Vintage, 1970. Translation of Surveiller et Punir; Naissance de la Prison (Paris: Gallimard, 1966).
Gardiner Michael. The Dialogics of Critique: M. M. Bakhtin and the Theory of Ideology. London and New York: Routledge, 1992.
Giddens, Anthony. The Consequences of Modernity. Stanford: Standard UP, 1993.
Gillespie, Michael Patrick. The Aesthetics of Chaos: Nonlinear Thinking and Contemporary Literary Criticism. Florida: Florida UP, 2003.
Hall, Stuart. “The Local and the Global: Globalization and Ethnicity.” Dangerous Liaisons: Gender, Nation and Postcolonial Perspectives. Eds. Anne McClintock, Aamir Mufti and Ella Shohat. Minneapolos: Minnesota UP, 1997. 173-87.
---. “Cultural Identity and Diaspora.” Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader. Eds. Ana Evans Braziel and Anita Mannur. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003.
Hall, Stuart, and P. du Gay, eds. Questions of Cultural Identity. London: Sage, 1996
Harvey, David. The Condition of Postmodernism: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989.
Jansen, Willy. “French Bread and Algerian Wine: Conflicting Identities in French Algeria.” Food, Drink and Identity: Cooking, Eating and Drinking in Europe since the Middle Ages. Ed. Peter Scholliers. Oxford and New York: Berg, 2001. 195-218.
Jones, Jo. “’Dancing the Old Enlightenment’: Gould’s Book of Fish, the Historical Novel and the Post Modern Sublime.” Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature. Special Issue: The Colonial Present (2008): 114-129.
Loomba, Ania. Colonialism/ Postcolonialism. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.
Lupton, Deborah. Food, the Body and the Self. London: Sage, 1996.
McDowell, Michael J.. “The Bakhtin Road to Ecological Insight.” The Eco Criticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Eds. Heryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm. Athens and London: the University of Georgia Press, 1996. 371-91.
Maxwell, Ann. “White/ Aboriginal Relations on the Colonial Frontier: Reading the Anthropometric Photographs of Paul Foelsche.” Australia—Who Cares? Ed. David Callahan. Perth: API Network, 2007. 169-86.
Mellen, Joan. Magic Realism. Detroit and New York: Gale Group, 2000.
Pile, Steve, and Nigel Thrift, eds. Mapping Subject: Geographies of Cultural Transformation. London: Routledge, 1995.
Pieterse, Jan Nederveen. Globalization and Culture: Global Melange. Lanham: Oxford, 2004.
Polack, Fiona. “Taking the Waters: Abjection and Homecoming in The Shipping News and Death of a River Guide.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 41:1 (2006) 93-109.
Reese, Jennifer. “As I Lay Drowning.” Rev. of Death of a River Guide, by Richard Flanagan The New York Times 12 Apr. 2001
Reiss, Timothy J.. “Mapping Identities: Literature, nationalism, Colonialism.” Debating World Literature. Ed. Christopher Prendergast. London and New York: Verso, 2004.
Rushdie, Salman. Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991. London: Granta Books, 1991.
Said, Edward. Orientalism. New York, Vintage books, 1979.
---. Culture and Imperialism. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1993.
---. Representations of the Intellectual: The 1993 Reith Lectures. London: Vintage, 1994.
Salih, Ruba. “Shifting Meanings of ‘Home’: Consumption and Identity in Moroccan Women’s Transnational Practices between Italy and Morocco.” New Approaches to Migration? Transnational Communities and the Transformation of Home. Eds. Nadje Al-Ali and Khalid Koser. London and New York: Routledge, 2002. 51-67.
Sanga, Jaina C.. Salman Rushdie’s Postcolonial Metaphors: Migration, translation, Hybridity, Blasphemy, and Globalization. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2001.
Schwalm, Tanga. “’Relax and Enjoy the Show’: Circeasian Animal Spaces in Australian and Latin American Magical Realist Fiction.” The Journal of Commonwealth Literature 41:3 (September 2006): 83-102.
Shipway, Jesse. “Wishing for Modernity: Temporality and Desire in Gould’s Book of Fish.” Australian Literary Studies 21:1 (May 2003): 43-53.
Silko, Leslie Marmon. “Landscape, History, and the Pueblo Imagination.” The Eco Criticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Eds. Heryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm. Athens and London: the University of Georgia Press, 1996. 264-75.
Stilz, Gerbard. “Why Travel to Australia? Or: Who Cares for Whom in Tourism? The Rhetoric of the Antipodean Tour.” Australia—Who Cares? Ed. David Callahan. API Network: Perth: 2007. 271-286.
Tarnas, Richard. The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas that Have Shaped Our World View. New York: Ballantine Books, 1991.
Walder, Dennis. Postcolonial Nostalgias: Writing, Representation, and Memory. New York and London: Routledge, 2011.