Literary Space in the Works of Josie Boyle and Jeannette Armstrong (Abstract)

Angeline O'neill in collaboration with Josie Boyle

This abstract from the CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture appears with the kind permission of Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek. Copyright remains of course with the author and CLCWeb

In their collaborative article, Angeline O'Neill and Josie Boyle discuss the interconnection between the spoken and written word and the manipulation of literary space, here defined as a continuum characterised by different modes of intellectual production and developed in a socio-historical context. In particular, the article focuses on the work of two Indigenous women storytellers, Josie Boyle of the Western Australian Wongi people, and Jeannette Armstrong of the North American Okanagan people. O'Neill examines the movement from oral to written speech as a process by which the word is essentially "reconstituted"; a process which is utilised by these women as a means of empowerment and to affirm individual and group identity as well as promote greater cross-cultural understanding. Importantly, the article also acknowledges that any reading of Indigenous literature is problematised by the fact that critics and authors, whether indigenous or not, are affected by ideologies concerning the processes of reading, writing and speaking. In order to understand these processes better it must be acknowledged that when texts are transformed from one medium to another they may also move from one discursive regime to another. Through their manipulation of literary space the storytelling of Josie Boyle and Jeannette Armstrong opens this transformation to further enquiry.

Full text of this web essay.

Postcolonial Web Australia Victorian Web

Last modified: 14 May 2000