Beyond all law : Ian Wedde's New Zealand settlers

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McLaren, John (1992) Beyond all law : Ian Wedde's New Zealand settlers. Australian and New Zealand Studies in Canada (7). pp. 119-125. ISSN 0843-5049


Contains an essay on Ian Wedde, the New Zealand novelist, and his literary work. In ‘Symmes Hole’ Wedde writes for the forgotten people, the white first-footers who sailed beyond their law to join their blood with the Maoris in establishing a community that belonged to both black and white, to the islands of New Zealand and to the sea that surrounded them and gave them their highways, and their livelihood. To tell their story, Wedde rewrites the story of Moby Dick. He embeds the historical original of the white whale, Mocha Dick, in the history of the western colonisation of New Zealand and the Pacific, transforming it from a symbol of unconquerable nature, the measure of our hubris, to an image of the savagery within humanity that drives our struggle to conquer and subdue. In his pseudonymous introduction Wedde identifies whaling as the prototype of the systems of market capitalism, and the white whale as the submerged rumour that "haunts and infects those plying the market grids ... a 'rising damp beneath the retirement home of academic record’ ..." (Wedde, 1986, p.9).

Item type Article
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 2005 Literary Studies
Current > Collections > McLaren Papers
Keywords literature, novels, settlers, imperialism, colonial history, exploitation, MCLAREN-BOXF5-DOC1
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