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Portrayals of the Armenian genocide in Australian literature
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 23:10 authored by Ashley Kalagian Blunt
This thesis consists of a work of creative writing and an interconnected research component. Despite Australia's historical connections to the Armenian Genocide, there has been little research into portrayals of the genocide in Australian literature. This thesis analyses three such novels: Joan London's Gilgamesh, Marcella Polain's The Edge of the World, and Katerina Cosgrove's Bone Ash Sky.These novels demonstrate how popular portrayals of traumatic histories can work to keep the memory of such events 'alive' in society and, following Adorno, can act as a form of resistance against barbarity. These authors use narrative strategies such as psychic distance, narrative gaps, perpetrator motivations, and blurred perpetrator/victims roles to create a sense of alterity in order to confront complicity and do justice to the genocide's victims without alienating readers.The Australian contexts of the novels engage with the comparative dispossessions in both Australian and Turkish history to portray the challenge of remembering those dispossessed. The exegesis analyses how these three authors resist barbarity through their imaginative investments in the Armenian genocide's 'postmemory' and offer models for the working through of traumas such as genocide. In the creative work, a novella set in 1980s Sydney, the Armenian protagonist struggles to reconstruct the Armenian cultural narrative in a way that achieves a sense of justice.