Published December 2008


Photograph by Kevin Dooley; reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial license.


Editorial [pdf]

Bernadette Cantrall, Dreu Harrison, and James McLeod


“An Entangled Kind of Haunting”: Judith Wright and Uncanny Australia [pdf]

Toby Davidson

Ken Gelder and Jane Jacobs’ Uncanny Australia (1998), along with Judith Wright’s poetry, analyses and responds to the Australian ghost story. Wright does this through poeticised connections of land, history and family and Gelder-Jacobs through postcolonial criticism. This paper investigates how a combined reading of the two can offer new insights into Australian ghost stories and the poetics of haunting.

“My Other Conscience”: Epistolary Selves in Henry Mackenzie’s Julia de Roubigné [pdf]

Tim Hanna

Epistolary narrators traditionally work from a narrative understanding of themselves, and a belief in the communicability of that narrative. This paper looks at how the process of self-narration in epistolary novels can simultaneously draw out and undermine that narrative self-perception, and threaten a letter writer’s belief in communication. It explores the implications that this might have for the continuation of the genre as a whole.

The Sins of Settlement: Confession and the Postcolonial Cartwright [pdf]

Jessica Langston

This paper examines how in The Afterlife of George Cartwright (1992) John Steffler creates a dialogue between genuine historical documents and fictional journal entries, effecting an atonement for Canada’s colonialist crimes of the past. Because the story surrounding the documents features a protagonist who admits his culpability in tragic historic events and receives forgiveness, the excerpts themselves begin to resonate as a confession. This recontextualizing of history results in a dubious process of absolution.

Haunted Subjects: Fragments of the ‘Sexual Mosaic’ in James Ellroy’s Los Angeles [pdf]

Joshua Meyer

‘Haunted Subjects’ examines James Ellroy’s treatment of narrative and sexuality with regard to the murder of Elizabeth Short in The Black Dahlia and detective Danny Upshaw’s suicide in The Big Nowhere. In both cases, this paper argues, coherent causal explanations belie the complex social, semiotic and narrative relations in which these crimes participate.

William Wyler’s Uncanny Creation: The Fantôme Fatale in The Letter [pdf]

Ana Salzberg

Taking Freud’s essay on the “The Uncanny” as the theoretical foundation for an analysis of Wyler’s 1940 film The Letter, this article introduces the concept of the “fantôme fatale” as a means of defining the heroine who inspires the film’s troubled union between the supernatural and natural, corporeal and ethereal.


(In)Visible [pdf]

Michelle Cahill

A poem which explores the space of theoretical crisis in which a migrant writer is located.

Childhood [pdf]

Michelle Cahill

This poem reflects on the spatio-temporal and haptic dislocation a migrant poet carries in the memory of her childhood, and the experience of her daughter’s childhood.

Gothic Fiction Double Feature [pdf]

Emma Cole

This brief essay compares the mutual psychopathy of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera and Richard O’Brien’s Frank-N-Furter.

Happy Talk [pdf]

L. S. Dickens

On a cold winter’s night in the South Pacific, three people on a deserted Tongan resort island embark on a somewhat bitter-sweet mini-expedition through death, desire, and ideas of unambiguously ambiguous identity, leading to a startling finale of magical realism.

Post [pdf]

Josh Dubrau

The initial idea for ‘Post’ was engendered by the author’s computer’s bungled attempt to read the subject index of an online copy of the complete writings of Freud. Not being content to let the random remain random, authorial insertions comprise the parts in square brackets which create ‘Freudian slips’ based on my (mis)readings of the found text.

Roses [QuickTime file, 2.8MB]

Josh Dubrau and Mark Havryliv

An electronic poem tracing the potential alternative meanings of words we think we know well. Software was especially designed and built to enable the real-time substitution of typed words with words from a predetermined dictionary. Sets of user-programmable boolean rules are used to determine the type and order of word substitution. Music is generated and is primarily derived from the 4th movement of Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time), with harmonic detuning proportionate to the degree of change in a particular word substitution.

Beyond the Horizon [pdf]

Matthew Glen

Brendan McNamee’s The Quest for God in the Novels of John Banville draws attention to the confusing human desire to express an ambiguous and often conflicting feeling of significance without meaning: a sensual and disconcerting affect that one feels continually thrumming in one’s inner being, beyond the reductive confines of language, science, and knowledge.

Our Debt to Vulcan [pdf]

Allan McCay

This short story, ‘Our Debt to Vulcan,’ was inpired by an interest in free will, and the sculpture Vulcan by the artist Eduardo Paolozzi. This sculpture is in the Dean Gallery in Edinburgh and in turn was influenced by the story of the Roman god Vulcan.

Richard Feynman meets Albert Einstein for tea [pdf]

Martin Mantle

Scientific achievement relies on the work of others, but that reliance is both a blessing and a curse. This poem explores an encounter between two great scientists and how the presence of one haunts the other.


About Excursions’s Contributors [pdf]