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Ken Gelder

Ken Gelder

Ken Gelder is a Professor of English at the University of Melbourne who specialises in Australian literature and popular fiction. With Jane M. Jacobs, he co-authored Uncanny Australia: Sacredness and Identity in a Postcolonial Nation (Melbourne University Press, 1998). His most recent books include Colonial Australian Fiction: Character Types, Social Formations and the Colonial Economy (Sydney University Press, 2017) and The Colonial Kangaroo Hunt (Miegunyah Press, 2020), both co-authored with Rachael Weaver, as well as Adapting Bestsellers: Fantasy, Franchise and the Afterlife of Storyworlds (Cambridge University Press, 2019).

Ken Gelder reviews 'ReEnchantment: The new Australian spirituality' by David Tacey

April 2000, no. 219 01 April 2000
The cover of David Tacey’s earlier book on Australian spirituality, Edge of the Sacred, showed a few parched branches sticking out of the sand. The cover of this one is quite different: billowing clouds, rocks, water, lilac sunset colours. You might think that a certain blossoming had taken place; that Tacey’s project – the spiritualising of ‘secular’ Australia – had been wonderfully r ... (read more)

Ken Gelder reviews 'Unbecoming: An AIDS Diary' by Eric Michaels

February–March 1991, no. 128 01 February 1991
I first came across the name of Eric Michaels through a review article he published in the journal Art & Text titled ‘Para-Ethnography’. The article rigorously critiqued Chatwin’s The Songlines and Sally Morgan’s My Place, situating them as ‘para-ethnographic’ texts. It was very impressive. The note at the end remarked that ‘Eric died on 24 August 1988 after a long period of illn ... (read more)

'The Obscure(d) World of Australian Popular Fiction' by Ken Gelder

July 2000, no. 222 03 June 2020
Last December, the Melbourne Age asked some prominent literary folk to name the best novel of the twentieth century. Readers would have found few surprises in the choices. Most of the punter – some novelist and a few literary critics – went for Proust’s Remembrance and Joyce’s Ulysses. Little argument there. But Ian Rankin, a Scottish crime fiction writer, chose something altogether differ ... (read more)

Ken Gelder reviews 'The Secret of Hanging Rock' by Joan Lindsay

April 1987, no. 89 01 April 1987
More than anything else, The Secret of Hanging Rock is an exercise in marketing strategies and packaging. The real question, what happened to the girls, is in the midst of this finally of little importance, although it could have been very important. Indeed, the final, previously unpublished chapter of Picnic at Hanging Rock is only one of four pieces of writing in the publishers’ package, each ... (read more)