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Turning road (Fiction) Bluebeard in Shirley Hazzard's the transit of Venus (Critical Accompaniment)

Stein, Tristan (2009) Turning road (Fiction) Bluebeard in Shirley Hazzard's the transit of Venus (Critical Accompaniment). Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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This is a thesis comprising two components: a portion of my novella and a dissertation. My work of fiction, Turning Road, draws loosely on the Bluebeard fairytale, as well as theories of identity and nation, as a means of exploring a young Australian woman’s journey to London, a journey which is both symbolic and psychological.

The second component is the critical essay, which considers the extent to which Australian women’s expatriate fiction can be read as a variation of Bluebeard. Australian women’s expatriate fiction has been characterised as a journey involving a doomed love affair with a self-centred male in London.1 To date, most critical attention on the genre has focussed on the extent to which it employs the Odyssean myth to consider gender and colonial identity. It is my contention that reading Bluebeard in The Transit of Venus highlights issues of identity and power in relation to gender and nation. Through its central themes of threat, sexuality, secrecy, self-knowledge and seriality, Bluebeard warns against prescribed gender roles/relations and limiting identifications, and works towards depicting a new liberating space between contrasting spaces identified as home and abroad.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Supervisor(s): Robertson, Deborah
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