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An unexpected text in an unexpected place
Michelle Elleray

In 1850 the London Missionary Society published ‘Kiro’s Thoughts about England’, consisting of translated and abridged excerpts from the travel journal of Kiro, a Cook Islander from the South Pacific who had arrived in England in 1847. Originally intended for Cook Islanders, through its publication in the Juvenile Missionary Magazine Kiro’s journal instead becomes a narrative for British children. Kiro’s writing prompts us to consider how we are to read literary texts by peoples disempowered through imperial processes, when those texts are only deemed worthy of publication and preservation through their conformity with the dominant structures of power, in this case the London Missionary Society and its British Protestant norms. How do we wrest such texts from the evangelical framework that enabled their publication? How do we position the text’s observance of evangelical expectations within a spectrum from accommodation to consent? What work is done by the editor’s silent selections and elisions in the process of publication? In disentangling Kiro’s text from a pervasive British missionary ontology, this essay demonstrates the agency of Pacific Islanders as they negotiated the new technology of alphabetic literacy, a literacy accessed through Christianity, but not restricted to the cultural parameters of British evangelicalism.

in Worlding the south
Clara Tuite

This chapter engages the rich social, linguistic, and aesthetic repertoire of the flash (originally a cant language of thieves and convicts), using the convict phenomenon of ‘lag fever’ to complicate the idea of colonial belatedness in Australia. It argues that the flash language of thieves, gypsies, and convicts can be understood as an early kind of ‘world language’ that connected underclasses with upper classes within and across metropolitan Regency London and the southern climes and convict spaces of colonial Australia (Botany Bay, Newcastle, and Van Diemen’s Land). Connecting genealogies of masculine style and self-fashioning, and print-visual form, with the social arenas of fashionability, respectability, exile, convictism, and settler culture across Britain, Ireland, Europe, and Australia, this chapter throws new light on the liminal yet transformative Regency cultures of scandalous celebrity, exile, and convictism.

in Worlding the south
Caryl Churchill’s Identical Twins as neo-avant-garde (radio) drama
Pim Verhulst

Pim Verhulst uses Caryl Churchill’s Identical Twins (1968) as a case study to investigate the role of radio in the neo-avant-garde, relating it to the historical avant-garde and (late) modernism, as well as movements such as postdramatic theatre and the Theatre of the Absurd. While Churchill’s destabilising treatment of language and speech as sound or noise aligns her with avant-garde predecessors in Britain and abroad, the postwar institutional context of the BBC is explored archivally as a typically neo-avant-garde environment that aims to reconcile new aesthetic experiences with concerns about audience reception, particularly through stereo. Usually exploited by neo-avant-garde artists as an experimental feature, it is atypically used by the BBC production team as a means to constrain the radical identity-blurring so characteristic of Identical Twins. An intermedial analysis investigates its status as an ‘interior duologue’, as well as the friction between theatre performance, textuality and recording. Finally, the chapter studies the formative role of radio in Churchill’s oeuvre and its lasting effect on her later drama, to argue more generally that the medium played an important but neglected part in the theatrical revolution that innovated the British stage from the 1950s onwards.

in Tuning in to the neo-avant-garde
Globes, panoramas, fictions, and oceans
Peter Otto

This chapter considers how the first full-scale panorama of Sydney, ‘A View of the Town of Sydney’, exhibited at Robert Burford’s Leicester Square Panorama from 1828 until at least March 1831, conjured an Umwelt rather than just a view or prospect. As an object able to be viewed from numerous points of view, its hyper-realistic illusion aroused audience interest in how it had been constructed, which in turn suggested that the actual world, like the panorama’s virtual world, is an appearance within material, psychological, and cultural systems of perception. In this hybrid, fictional space, the real and the imaginary, the objective and the mythological, settler and colonised, even settlement and unsettlement move into surprising proximity with each other.

in Worlding the south
Open Access (free)
Thomas Baines on expedition to the coronation of Cetshwayo kaMpande, Zululand, 1873
Lindy Stiebel

In 1873 Thomas Baines – explorer, artist and cartographer – joined the retinue of Theophilus Shepstone, then Secretary for Native Affairs in the colony of Natal, into Zululand to ‘crown’ Cetshwayo as Zulu king. As Special Correspondent to the Natal Mercury, Baines wrote comprehensive descriptions of the events in which he took part. Moreover, Baines’ participation in the ‘coronation’ encouraged him to produce a detailed map of Zululand, now housed in the Royal Geographical Society in London. This map sheds light on the geo-political state of Natal at that time while also suggesting the later dramatic changes in Anglo-Zulu relations. Baines’ friendship with William Emery Robarts en route also yielded a sketch, journal entries, and a sketch map held in the Robarts family archives. The purpose of this chapter is to look more closely at Baines on his last expedition as a writer and mapper of settler interests using the above mentioned resources.

in Worlding the south
Open Access (free)
Cultural geographies of poetry in colonial Aotearoa
Nikki Hessell

This chapter examines the ways in which Thomas Babington Macaulay’s verse was used to articulate the cultural, literary, and political aspirations of nineteenth-century Māori in Aotearoa. The chapter centres around the Ngāti Porou rangatira (chief) Mōkena Kōhere (?–1894), a leading figure in the politics of late-nineteenth-century Aotearoa, and the way in which Kōhere’s words, actions, and legacies were framed via lines from Macaulay’s poems. It treats poetry generally, and Macaulay’s poetry in this instance, as a literary example of what the legal historian Mark Hickford has called ‘portals of communicability’ in Aotearoa’s colonial relationships.

in Worlding the south
Sound, voice and intermediality
Daniel Gilfillan

Radio history has many examples that illustrate the long-standing collaboration between the worlds of literature and the tools that the radio medium delivers. The intermediality at the heart of such collaborations understands radio production as a form that combines the textual modes bound up within the literary and the aural/spatial modes bound up within sound. Intermediality references how a discrete work always exists within a series of medial configurations that provide it with a network of possible meanings and legitimacies. This chapter explores how radiophonic space organises a notion of intermediality that features the compositional minds of artists and listeners as the site where these meanings and legitimacies take shape. It examines three poetry-based sound works by two Austrian radio artists, Petra Ganglbauer and Peter Pessl. It draws on radio theoretical writings by Otto Palitzsch and his early understanding of the Sendespiel and engages connections to the contours of the Neues Hörspiel and Ars Acustica developed by Klaus Schöning. These definitional pieces help explore the layered relationships between sound, dramaturgy and broadcast, and uncover some of the paradoxical forces at play in creating such intermedial works within the institutional frameworks of radio production and radio consumption.

in Tuning in to the neo-avant-garde
An aesthetic controversy during the establishment of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and the radiophonic poem Private Dreams and Public Nightmares
Tatiana Eichenberger

After the Second World War the broadcasting corporations in Europe started to establish special facilities to produce music, sound and effects by electroacoustic means. The first electronic music studios established between 1951 and 1955 in Paris, Cologne and Milan were major actors in the development of avant-garde electroacoustic music. Although the BBC Radiophonic Workshop built on the technical and aesthetic experience of the continental studios, it adopted a decisive counterposition, categorically rejecting the composition of electroacoustic music and producing electroacoustic sound exclusively for radio and television. Following the question of the relationship between radiophonic art and electroacoustic music, this chapter focuses, on the one hand, on the establishment of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and traces the internal aesthetic controversy between its Entertainment and Music divisions, which in the 1950s marked a clash between the traditional and the avant-garde in the arts. On the other hand, the analysis of the radiophonic poem Private Dreams and Public Nightmares and the comparison of the script with the final recording reveals the production of a new form of radiophonic art in which speech, music, noise and silence form equal elements of an inseparable whole.

in Tuning in to the neo-avant-garde
Manu Samriti Chandler

Nineteenth-century British Guiana witnessed the rise of multiple, conflicting reading audiences, who collided over matters political and aesthetic. The colonial situation was complicated: Afro-creole Guianese periodical culture was defined directly in opposition to the oral cultures of native Blacks and Indians, who were understood to be objects of discussion but never serious participants within the public sphere. Discussing the representation of oral traditions across a range of missionary texts and Guianese journals, this chapter demonstrates the ways in which the ‘reading nation’ is constructed against the speaking tribe, grounding ideas of humanity in the capacity to read and thereby participate fully in the social life of the colony. Focusing on the poetry of Egbert Martin (1861–90), the chapter argues that the Guianese literati capitalised on assumptions about Black and Indian natives’ illiteracy to signal to European audiences the relative value of Guianese readers and writers, and to substantiate claims of ‘Creole indigeneity’ at the expense of Indigenous peoples. By way of conclusion, the chapter suggests that decolonising cultural recognition not only involves the refusal of recognition from the Global North but also offering recognition to Amerindian communities.

in Worlding the south
The island as collective in the works of Louis Becke
Jennifer Fuller

This chapter repositions the overlooked short stories of Australian-born author Louis Becke as a colonial experiment in archipelagic writing. By examining the stories as a collective, readers are able to view the South Seas of the colonial imagination as a networked vision defined by circulation and exchange. To this end, this chapter offers a reading of each of the stories of Becke’s first collection, By Reef and Palm (1894), allowing readers to construct a literary world. By shifting between story and anthology, the singular tale and the collective experience, Becke attempts to narrate the process of globalisation. By refusing to allow a single narrative or viewpoint to dominate the collection, Becke moves readers into a network of literature than can only be fully understood in an interdependent, transoceanic context.

in Worlding the south