Westerly Centre

Myths, Heroes and Anti-Heroes

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This collection of essays focuses on the literature of the Asia-Pacific region.

It considers the functioning of myths, particularly those about heroes or anti-heroes in a wide range of literature from the Asia-Pacific region (including Australia).

Myths focus the values of a culture and in this volume, written by scholars from throughout the region, the myths are both various and have a certain commonality.

The subjects range from Don Bradman to cartoons to Shiva, and a poem by Vikram Seth is a bonus.



  • Introduction by Bruce Bennett and Dennis Haskell
  • Some Maori versions of pastoral by Ken Arvidson
  • Two corroborees: Constructions of myth by Katherine Susannah Pritchard and Mudrooroo by Sue Hosking
  • Heroes against empire: Reading Aboriginal texts by Veronica Brady
  • The myth of divine kingship in Malay history by Sharifah Maznah Syed Omar
  • Myths, heroes and anti-heroes in Japanese culture by Orie Muta
  • Disguising desire: Gender and imperialism in Jill Shearer's 'Shimada' by Leigh Dale and Helen Gilbert
  • The writing of heroism: Conrad, Clifford and Swettenham by Ban Kah Choon
  • The politics of pathology: Wong Phui Nam's 'Remembering Grandma and other rumours' by Chin Woon Ping
  • Heroines in Australian fiction: Myths of adolescence by Richard Rossiter
  • Constructing the female rero: Keri Hulme's 'The bone people' by Suzette Henke
  • Adam Lindsay Gordon as hero by Martin Gray
  • The heroism of comedy: Smith's Weekly in the 1930s by Dennis Haskell
  • Tracing Emily of Emerald Hill : Subject positioning in performance by Jacqueline Lo
  • Myths of a nation: History as narrative invention in David Malouf's 'The great world 'by Amanda Nettlebeck
  • Unhappy the land that has a need of heroes : John Romeril's Asian plays by Gareth Griffiths
  • Fugitives and prisoners: Narratives of escape by Leong Liew Geok
  • Notes on the writing of Po-On by F. Sionil Jose
  • The heroic type in Australian nationalist autobiography by Joan Newman
  • Roro Mendut: The past and the present by Susi Sunarya
  • Don Bradman: That inscrutable object of adulation by R.S. White
  • The Mahabharata and modern fiction by Satendra Nandan
  • The fox and the swan by Vikram Seth
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