Signposting Australia: Furphy’s Great Australian Novel

By Terrence Craig.

Published by The International Journal of Literary Humanities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 15, 2016 $US5.00

This paper examines the use of literature in Joseph Furphy’s Such is Life in the context of Australian independence in 1901 and in the context of the ongoing importation of books and a canon from England in a persistently colonial sense. Furphy employs a pompously literate narrator to mediate an ostentatiously Australian outback philosophy of meritocracy in contrast to the demonstrated social inequalities of the British class system. The narrator pretentiously presents himself as a philosopher, criticizing the very worst qualities of the English diaspora—and here Furphy is not referring to convicts but to the remittance men at the other end of the class spectrum. Furphy depreciates British classics to devalue British classism and elevate instead a Republican meritocracy.

Keywords: Australian Literature, Furphy, Metafiction

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 14, Issue 3, September 2016, pp.1-6. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 15, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 532.962KB)).

Terrence Craig

Professor, Department of English, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada