The Mirror in The Magic Pudding

Christopher Kelen


This paper investigates Norman Lindsay’s 1918 illustrated children’s novel The Magic Pudding with a view to understanding how the text reflects the state of Australian wishfulness at a particular moment in the history of Australian literary consciousness and the national self-conception. In The Magic Pudding the distorting mirror shown the subject entering culture is one which hails (as it teaches) a characteristic cynicism with regard to the rules and rights of possession – a cynicism  befitting the un-nameable anywhere of the action. This essay argues that the puddin’ as possession (slave and cannibal commodity) has provided an apt palimpsest for wishful thinking of the Australian kind, likewise for Australian styles of cynicism with regard to such wishfulness.


Norman Lindsay, magic pudding, anthem

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