Abstract: This paper addresses the search for an Australian authenticity and differentiation in the work of the South Australian-based Jindyworobak group of poets who, in the late 1930s, sought to escape from the “intellectual colonialism of modernism.” Influenced by D.H. Lawrence’s “spirit of place” they promoted, through their 1938 Manifesto and influential annual Jindyworobak Anthology (1938-1953), local and environmental values drawing on topoi from inland Australian landscapes and motifs from
imagined indigenous life and language, largely unknown to most Australian settlers. While their experiment was mainly unsuccessful, the paper shows how Jindyworobak sympathies for “a neglected people” foreshadow the return to indigenous themes and forms in settler writing from the 1980s, notably by Les Murray, David Malouf and Alex Miller. The paper underlines, nonetheless, the sensitivities surrounding writing about the Other. It points to Malouf’s interest, as a writer of non-English language descent, in the loss of language, a variant of “homelessness,” recurring in contemporary settler and migrant writing, and central to the work of Aboriginal writer Kim Scott.
Keywords: Jindyworobaks, authenticity, differentiation, place, appropriation, Other
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