Dreaming Phantoms and Golems: Elements of The Place Beyond Nation in Carpentaria and Dreamhunter

Laura Joseph


I argue in this essay that Australian writer Alexis Wright’s 2006 novel Carpentaria and New Zealand writer Elizabeth Knox’s Dreamhunter series (comprising of the novels Dreamhunter (2005) and Dreamquake (2007)) call up the matter of region and the waste of modernity to secede the form of nation. As fictional spaces overlaying real places, doubling with a world of dreams and an underworld of nightmares of colonial violence, these novels also move beyond the form of realism. This essay contends that in dispersing the forms of nation and genre though the matter of particular places, these contemporary antipodean novels deploy a politics of fantasy to reimagine the futures of nation. In this move away from nation towards the material specificities of region, these contemporary antipodean novels enable a transnational reading from the vantage point of region to region.


Alexis Wright; Elizabeth Knox; Gaston Bachelard; matter in literature; material imagination; trans-Tasman

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