Islands in the works of Randolph Stow (1935-2010)

Richards, Fiona (2013). Islands in the works of Randolph Stow (1935-2010). Southerly, 72(3) pp. 103–118.



This article considers the different senses of island in the writings of Australian author, Randolph Stow, and the manner in which he evokes these islands through descriptive means, through the evocative use of language, and through sound. The afterlife islands of aboriginal dreaming lie at the heart of the 1958 novel, To the Islands, while island languages and identities form the extraordinary dramatic narrative, Visitants, set in the Trobriand Islands, where Stow lived and worked in 1959. Real, experienced islands (Sicily, Malta and Gozo, the Scottish island of Handa, and Madeira and the Azores, which he visited in October 1974) pervade Stow’s fiction and poems. They are also present in the many surviving letters to his family. Somewhat differently, the concept of the island as a bounded space features in his inland narratives, including A Haunted Land (1957), where farmsteads form metaphorical archipelagos.

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