Chapter One Introduction
1.1 Judith Wright: Life and Works
Judith Wright was born near Armidale, New South Wales, into an old and wealthy pastoral English family and was raised on her family's sheep station. Owing to a fine home education and her inborn interest in literature, Wright started writing when she was a child. After her mother’s early death in 1927, she was educated under the supervision of her grandmother May, whose literacy is a great enlightenment for her upcoming literary creation. At the age of 14, Wright was sent to a Girls' School in New England, where she found consolation from poetry and decided to become a poet. In 1934 she entered Sydney University to study a series of liberal arts such as philosophy, history, and psychology. Throughout her entire life, she has traveled to and lived in various regions including New England, New South Wales, the subtropical rainforests of Tamborine Mountain, Queensland, and the plains of the southern highlands near Braidwood. Wright’s residence in different regions and interaction with local people provides her with much inspiration to create a lot of works including poems, literary essays, children’s books, biographies, histories, school plays, and other non-fiction.
In all of Wright’s volumes, Australian land and people feature prominently, displaying her step-by-step understanding of the people-place relationships in the Australian context. Her aesthetic centers on the relationships between mankind and the environment, which she views as the catalyst for poetic creation. The first collection of Judith Wright’s poems The Moving Image (1946), which has already revealed her technical excellence, mainly deals with her personal history and experience. Abundant descriptions of flora and fauna in the collection display her close interaction with the natural environment since childhood.
1.2 Literature Review
Since the last decades of the 20th century, critics began to discuss Judith Wright’s poetry from the perspective of place. In Judith Wright’s observation, a mass of new settlers in Australia had been getting perplexed by the “double aspects of inner Australia”, which appeared alien to be a “land of exile” yet still full of hope as a land of freedom and equality (1966a, p. xii). Also, both these two distinct senses of Australia could find their existence in Wright’s life practices and literary works, and together contribute to the complexity of Wright’s sense of place in Australia. This is referred to by critics as the long-existing uncertainty in Wright’s mind. Gig Ryan expounds her psychological contradiction between a love of Australian landscapes and a subconsciousness that the land is established during a process of destruction (1999, p.27).
On the one hand, many of the critical analyses address Wright’s emotional attachment to Australian land. Jenny Kohn identifies Wright’s passion for the natural landscapes – not only the land but the creatures who inhabited it (2006, p.114). Also, Cooke recognizes the deep and historical energies drawn upon from the “complicated” and “brilliant” ecologies in Wright’s descriptions, which cannot do without a heartfelt affection and respect of natural environment (2015, p.193). The love of Australia is her original and major emotion to the land which makes up her sense of place. With a premise that self-identity is one of dimensions of sense of place, there is a shortage of discussion that classifies the relationships between Wright’s love to the land and her personal identification with it. Therefore, this would be one of points of this thesis to talk about Wright’s sense of place in Australia.
Chapter Two Ambivalent Sense of Place in Australia in Early Years
2.1 The Embryo of Place Attachment
Many European in Australia, as directors of the new colonial regime, often hardly get out of a conservative prejudice t