The Life and Times of Alex Doucas: Migrant and Author: Searching for a new identity

Abraham Sophocleous (1999). The Life and Times of Alex Doucas: Migrant and Author: Searching for a new identity MPhil Thesis, English, Media Studies and Art History, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Abraham Sophocleous
Thesis Title The Life and Times of Alex Doucas: Migrant and Author: Searching for a new identity
School, Centre or Institute English, Media Studies and Art History
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1999-06
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Chris Tiffin
Total pages 325
Total black and white pages 325
Subjects 21 History and Archaeology
Abstract/Summary Abstract This thesis offers the first detailed critical account of the Greek-Australian writer, Alex Doucas (1900-1962) who came to Australia in 1927 as a migrant from Asia Minor. It attempts to place his work in the perspectives of Greek and Australian literatures and to evaluate his position both as a migrant and as a writer. The Asia Minor Catastrophe and the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey in 1923, as well as the Great Depression he faced in Australia along with many other Australians had a profound effect on his social outlook. Considered one of the pioneers of Greek-Australian Literature, Doucas played an important role in the development of Greek community life in Australia during the pre- and post-World War II periods. His work consists of two published novels (one posthumously) and a significant body of published and unpublished, stories, poems, translations and essays. Out of print for some decades, it remains largely unknown to the general public or even to academic circles in Greece and in Australia. It was, however, a landmark of Greek-Australian Literature and continues to have more than historical interest in its treatment of migration, exile and displacement, and in its use of intercultural perspectives to forge a positive vision for humanity. Although forced into ill-paid manual labour for much of his life after his arrival in Australia, Alex Doucas tried to develop links and relationships with Australian intellectual circles and to become involved in Australian life in the broadest way. At the same time, he never lost contact with social, political and literary developments in Greece. Alex Doucas maintained close relations with both the Greek and Australian literary traditions. As a writer he belongs to the Greek generation of the 1930s and its literary traditions. In his work, he dealt with events which took place in Anatolia before the Asia Minor Catastrophe as well as with the impact the catastrophe had on Greek society. He is one of the first writers of his generation who turned his attention to the “other side of the coin” and investigated the impact of the Catastrophe on the Turkish people. This perspective was adopted mainly due to the openness that he found in Australia, an openness that led to Multiculturalism. Alex Doucas was a multiculturalist before his time. His work is a fine example of the Australian version of Multiculturalism. Through his brother Stratis Doucas (also a writer) and others, he kept himself informed on all sorts of changes and developments in his native country, Greece, especially as it was shaped after the Asia Minor Catastrophe. At the same time, he tried to understand the Australian way of life, its culture and its literary traditions. His bi-cultural position gave him a powerful perspective. He attempted to understand the Australian way of life through his Greekness and to find answers for problematic events that happened in Greece through his Australian experience. Across the entire span of Doucas’s work, it is clear that his political philosophy and his belief in the goals of socialism played a crucial role in his consciousness of himself as a writer whose role was to provide the artistic equivalent of the philosophical basis of Marxism, best expressed in the Theses on Feuerbach (1845) by Marx, in his famous dictum, "Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it". In other words, it was never enough for Doucas simply to describe in social realist terms the conditions of life and the aspirations of human beings. His aim was to show how these conditions might be changed for the better, not only for the individual, but for the community as a whole. Equally, he wished to show how people’s aspirations, particularly those of an immigrant community familiar with exile, suffering and loss, might be more fully realised.
Keyword multicultural literature, migrant literature, comparative literature, social realism, asia minor catastrophe, modern greek literature, australian literature, literary traditions

 
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Created: Thu, 26 Nov 2009, 06:08:19 EST by Mr Abraham Sophocleous on behalf of Library - Information Access Service