Capitalism versus the agency of place: an ecocritical reading of That Deadman Dance and Carpentaria

Jane Gleeson-White


I argue in this essay that Australian writer Alexis Wright’s 2006 novel Carpentaria and Kim Scott’s That Deadman Dance (2010) trouble Australia’s national identity, drawing attention to and challenging the economic project – capitalism – upon which the nation is predicated, by positing the particularity and agency of place. Both novels are notable for their generic hybridity, their foregrounding of place and their hopefulness despite their traumatic subject matter, moving beyond the form of western literary realism and postcolonial despair. For these reasons this essay contends that only an ecocritical reading of these novels, with its focus on the literary study of the relationship of human and non-human, can adequately account for the challenges they pose and the vision they offer for reconsidering the nature of and relation between human and non-human in a century facing environmental mayhem.


Kim Scott; Alexis Wright; Country; capitalism; ecocriticism

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