An Imaginary Life Analysis

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In an interview to Lee Spinks, David Malouf talked about the writing of An Imaginary Life. He has said that:- I didn’t realize I was writing a novel when I started that book. I didn’t know what I was writing, whether it was a long dramatic monologue in prose or whether I was writing a long prose poem, or a piece of part fiction, part-monologue, part-essay. I just launched into it. What I was interested in were all questions that had come up out of poetry: they were questions about the language of poetry, they were questions about the relationship of language to landscape, questions about to what extent language is the poet and that that’s different from the person. There were going to be originally questions about what the political position…show more content…
Then it struck me that Ovid was a perfect example of all those things and that he offered a really, really…show more content…
It tells of the experience of the Australian settlers, who are in a state of exile from their homeland England. It is a sense of being separated at the edge of the world, away from the centre of things. And in Ovid’s ultimate acceptance of the harsh land and exiled existence, Malouf’s novel evokes for the reader the need for the contemporary Australians to identify with and have a better sense of belonging to Australia, than just belonging to a second-hand Europe. All or most of the experiences that Ovid go through during his exile are very similar to the experiences gone through by the white settlers in Australia, be it emotional or geographical. It is in this sense that both Ovid and the immigrant Australians are the “Others” in their homeland, and are also forced out to live with another set of “Others” in a foreign land. Malouf’s decision to set the book in a savage outpost of the Roman Empire has puzzled his readers and challenged his critics who struggled to find a plausible explanation for his choice. Many saw a parallel with Australia’s early colonial years as a penal outpost. Others detected similarities between Malouf’s depiction of the savage populations of Tomis and the Australian Aborigines. Malouf

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