Eating the underworld : a memoir in three voices

Brett, Doris (2002) Eating the underworld : a memoir in three voices. PhD thesis, Victoria University of Technology.


Cesare Pavese, the Italian poet, said 'We do not remember days, we remember moments.' In creating the story of our days, some of us will remember different moments from the same events and others will remember the same moments differently. To decide to tell one's story publicly, is a difficult decision. To decide to tell a story that involves others is even more difficult. Despite the fact that my sister and later my father have put themselves into the public arena with regard to family matters, I have felt intense discomfort in writing about my family. I am still wrestling with the ethical issues of telling stories about families. I can't come up with easy answers. The best that I can do is to recognise the complexity of the ways in which people remember and interpret their lives and know that I can speak only for my memories and understandings and that others will have different ones. There are three voices - each of different tempo and texture - weaving together in this narrative. There is the voice of the diarist, the voice of the poet and the voice of fairytale and myth. In my imagination, I am sitting with them at one of those old-fashioned dressing tables, backed by a hinged, three-sided mirror. The kind I was fascinated by as a child. You can look at yourself full on, turn sideways and be startled by a profile you never get to see. If you lean more deeply into the mirror, you can see that even more foreign-familiar territory - the back of your head. You can gaze, glance, skip, backwards and forwards, return to what catches your eye and watch it widen as the mirrors shift at your conmand. And always, the unspoken amazement - Is that me? Is that really me? - as you see for the first time, the multitude of disparate, odd-seeming selves that go to make up the one whole you.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Communication and the Arts
Keywords Doris Brett, Australian authors, Cancer patients, women authors, autobiography
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