By Tamara S Wagner
Colonial household literature has been principally missed and is due for a reassessment. This essay assortment explores attitudes to colonialism, imperialism and race, in addition to vital advancements in girlhood and the idea that of the hot lady.
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Additional resources for Domestic Fiction in Colonial Australia and New Zealand
He explains: ‘Nothing about you, dear, but about the place. 44 Importantly, Frank appeals to ideas of industry and familial connection in order to reinforce Ellen’s purity, ideas that also link to the Englishness he seeks to obtain for his family. The power of place and environment to provoke change is brought to light through the portrayal of Ellen after she has arrived in Van Diemen’s Land. There is a sense in the text of the precariousness of her position until she marries. Ellen is the first of her family to arrive, which in itself could be seen as disordered.
Theft extends beyond Martineau’s working-class convicts to the free settlers, who buy into the social and cultural privilege of the colonized land. The colonizers learn that Englishness is not about place, but Retracing Domestic Space 35 about privilege, as is suggested by the anonymous speaker in the epigraph to this chapter. That the speaker is unnamed bestows on him the voice and authority of the emerging colonial nation. The ideal of home, of the comfortable domestic space, is deliberately situated by Martineau in the midst of geographical, climatic and social unrest, for the colonists conveniently forget the crimes to which their privilege is inherently linked.
Instead, in their focus on domestic space and issues, including domestic problems or shortcomings, these narratives counter both the prevalent stereotyping of undomestic colonial spaces in British-centred fiction and an equally clichéd mythologization of the bush as part of settler ideology. 1 For early nineteenth-century Britain, the concept of home was identified by the physical space of dwelling, but also ideologically by the freedoms and independence that such a space represented for the Englishman: the patriarchal family kingdom, the space of rule, a microcosm of the empire.
Domestic Fiction in Colonial Australia and New Zealand by Tamara S Wagner