The Sixties - the lived experience

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Hyde, Michael (2013) The Sixties - the lived experience. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


The period commonly referred to as the Sixties, which in fact mainly covered the years between 1967 and 1975, was a time when society’s accepted values were questioned, undermined and sometimes overthrown. In Australia, opposition to the Vietnam War was at the heart of this turmoil. It is commonly believed that this period is dealt with extensively in the Australian literary canon but I discovered in my initial literary search that, while some fiction made oblique references to the period and there were some literary works by Vietnam veterans, very few novels or memoirs told the story of the Sixties from a radical perspective. This discovery drove me to write my literary memoir All Along the Watchtower, which has since been published. The choice of ‘literary memoir’ was made to capture the spirit of the lived experience of the Sixties where I compressed characters and sometimes re-arranged the timeline of events in my bid for authenticity rather than factuality. While my memoir (80%) laid the foundations of my PhD, my exegesis (20%) examines the question of memory and cultural memory in regard to marginalised stories like the radical perspectives on the Sixties and indicates how our society can be detrimentally affected by this absence. I studied and analysed all the existent Australian literature about the Sixties across the political spectrum and compared the dearth of radical fiction about the Sixties to the plethora of radical fiction written by Australian authors from the Forties and Fifties and examined the causes for such a difference. It might be valuable to first read the exegesis and secondly the memoir as the former answers questions that would be raised if reading the memoir first.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1608 Sociology
Historical > FOR Classification > 2005 Literary Studies
Historical > FOR Classification > 2103 Historical Studies
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Arts
Keywords cultural memory, social change, society, culture, left wing politics, narratives, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, Forties, Fifties, Sixties, memoirs, autobiographies, radical Australian literature, radicals, Vietnam War, All Along the Watchtower, Australia
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