Abstract: How can the fictional representation of space and domestic interority be interpreted in fictional works like Dirt Music, The Riders or Winton’s latest novel Breath? This article argues that the house as an active living space in Winton’s work functions significantly in the context of describing a mythical, commercially marketable, nostalgic image of rural Australia as a place of masculine redefinition and maturation. The analysis of spatiality in this context provides a deeper engagement with the connection between space and gender, highlighting the ambiguous nature of specifically gendered spheres in the architecture of Winton’s fictional dwelling places. Deviating from the original Victorian concept of “separate spheres”, which set up clear definitions of male and female domestic spaces, Winton’s narratives place priority on highlighting the male influence on the originally female domains in the house. It is argued that these spaces reflect the troubling binary between male presence and female absence, highlighting the desires and troubles of the male characters but also female trauma, self-harm and displacement. These are some of the issues this paper addresses, showing how the postcolonial dialectic between place, space and gender can be applied to Winton’s fictional “traumascapes” (M. Tumarkin).
Keywords: Tim Winton; contemporary Australian fiction; space and place; feminism; selfharm; memory; architecture
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