Abstract: This article investigates imaginings of Europe in contemporary Australian fiction in order to explore whether (traveling to) Europe provides alternative points of reference to discourses on nation, belonging, and identity beyond the (settler) postcolonial. The article sets out to compare recent works by Peter Carey, Christos Tsiolkas and Gail Jones who narrate Europe against a wide range of backgrounds, covering diverse diasporic, migratory and expatriate experiences, in order to explore the role of Europe as an alternative space, and of European modernities in particular, in the Australian literary imagination. Concentrating on Jack Maggs (1997), Dead Europe (2005) and A Guide to Berlin (2015), the article has a threefold focus: Firstly, it analyses the representation of European spaces and explores how the three novels draw attention to multiple modernities within and beyond Europe. Secondly, it demonstrates how all three novels, in their own way, reveal European modernities to be haunted by its other, i.e. death, superstition, ghosts, or the occult. Thirdly, these previous findings will be synthesized in order to determine how the three novels relate Europe to Australia. Do they challenge or perpetuate the protagonists’ desire for Europe as an ‘imaginary homeland’? Do references to Europe support the construction of national identity in the works under review, or do these references rather point to the emergence of multiple or transnational identities?
Keywords: contemporary Australian literature; fictions of Europe; multiple modernities; Peter Carey; Christos Tsiolkas; Gail Jones