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Uncanny parallels: Jennifer Kentís The Nightingale, violence, and the Vandemonian past


Harman, K, Uncanny parallels: Jennifer Kent's The Nightingale, violence, and the Vandemonian past, Studies in Australasian Cinema, 14, (1) pp. 35-46. ISSN 1750-3175 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Studies in Australasian Cinema on 22/04/2020, available online:

DOI: doi:10.1080/17503175.2020.1756172


Set in mid-1820s Van Diemenís Land, The Nightingale depicts a dark and disturbing Tasmanian past populated with redcoats, convicts, Aboriginal people, and a few free settlers. Controversial scenes include the repeated rape of a young female convict, the murders of her husband and infant, and the rape and murder of an Aboriginal woman. Uncanny parallels can be drawn between the on-screen experiences of the white female lead, and the violence visited on the bodies of Tasmanian colonial woman Elizabeth Tibbs, her husband, and infant in 1826. After situating the film within its historical context, this paper provides a mimetic reading through elaborating these parallels. It interrogates key points of divergence between these fictional and historical accounts of womenís lives to explore what they reveal about gender, class, race, violence, and justice in colonial Van Diemenís Land and its depiction in twenty-first century Australia.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:history, Tasmania; Australia, film, The Nightingale, convicts
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:Australian history
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding Australia's past
UTAS Author:Harman, K (Associate Professor Kristyn Harman)
ID Code:137773
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2020-03-04
Last Modified:2022-08-29
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