Contour Flous

Maison du Passant
Le Passant Ordinaire, 2004, Juillet-septembre 2004
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I was invited to contribute a chapter from my novel-in-progress, Great Western Highway, to Le Passant Ordinaire, a French journal of philosophy, literature and politics funded by the French Ministry for Culture and Communication. The novel was written with the assistance of three New Work grants from the Literature Board of the Australia Council, and highly commended in the NSW Writers' Fellowship 2000. Le Passant lists me as "l'une des figures majeures de la litterature contemporaine australienne." Other contributors to the issue include international intellectuals Noam Chomsky and Etienne Balibar. The central theme of Great Western Highway is the penetration of market forces into the social fabric of contemporary Western societies such as Australia. The chapter's main innovation is in the way it manifests a novelistic form whose structure reflects, or even embodies, market transformations in society. It explores the contemporary media machine's proliferation of images, self-reflexivity and dissolution of the distinction between image producers and consumers in critically aware ways. It also provides a model of structural innovation that revives experimentation with narrative form in contemporary Australian writing, which has traditionally been entrenched in realist modes. The research methodology of the project was highly interdisciplinary, involving engagements with Thatcherism; corporeal narratology (Punday); theories of the culture industry (Horkheimer & Adorno); the French nouveau roman (Simon); Modernism (Joyce, Celine); and aspects of Postmodernism that deal with popular culture and self-reflexivity in the literary and media fields (Jameson, Warhol).
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