This book is the first to examine gender and violence in Australian literature. It argues that literary texts by Australian women writers offer unique ways of understanding the social problem of gendered violence, bringing this often private and suppressed issue into the public sphere. It draws on the international field of violence studies to investigate how Australian women writers challenge the victim paradigm and figure women’s agencies. In doing so, it provides a theoretical context for the increasing number of contemporary literary works by Australian women writers that directly address gendered violence, an issue that has taken on urgent social and political currency.
By analysing Australian women’s literary representations of gendered violence, this book rethinks victimhood and agency, particularly from a feminist perspective. One of its major innovations is that it examines mainstream Australian women’s writing alongside that of Indigenous and minoritised women. In doing so it provides insights into the interconnectedness of Australia’s diverse settler, Indigenous and diasporic histories in chapters that examine intimate partner violence, violence against Indigenous women and girls, family violence and violence against children, and the war and political violence.