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Journeys and Outings: a case study in David Malouf's closet

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This paper will investigate the role of metaphors of the closet and coming out in the early works of openly gay Australian writer David Malouf, from the exploration of his childhood home in 12 Edmondstone Street, to the is-he-isn't-he conjectures of Johnno, to the literary leap from the closet represented by An imaginary life. Read as autobiographies and as attempts to firstly understand and then deconstruct both the metaphoric and lived spaces of the closet, these stories and journeys are outings in many senses; most importantly, they represent the plotting of a path—narrative and spatial—out of the repressive space of the closet, and then to somewhere beyond. Portraying a preference for fluid identities and multiple meanings, Malouf asserts that we must come out of the closet that is heteronormativity, embarking on an outing in search of a queer utopia.
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Keywords: David Malouf; autobiography; coming out; death-space; homosexuality; literature; queer and spatial theory; space; the closet; utopia

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: La Trobe University, Australia

Publication date: 2008-09-01

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