The Songlines

The Songlines

Bruce Chatwin

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 0140094296

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Bruce Chatwin-author of In Patagonia-ventures into the desolate land of Outback Australia to learn the meaning of the Aborginals' ancient "Dreaming-tracks." Along these timeless paths, amongst the fortune hunters and redneck Australians, racist policemen and mysterious Aboriginal holy men, he discovers a wondrous vision of man's place in the world.

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would suppress tribal warfare with 'ritual' exchanges of gifts. 'But surely', I butted in, 'this "gift exchange" is not a ritual to suppress aggression. It is aggression ritualised. Violence only breaks out when the parity of these exchanges is broken.' 'Yes, yes,' he answered enthusiastically. 'Of course, of course.' He took a pencil from his desk and waved it towards me. 'If I give you this gift,' he said, 'that means "I'm territorial here." But it also means, "I have a territory and I am no

an animal to kill until, almost at his final gasp, Akuka saw a bandicoot bolting for its burrow. His brother warned him not to kill it, for to kill one's own kind was taboo. Akuka ignored the warning. He dug the bandicoot from the burrow, speared it, skinned (u s) and ate it, and immediately felt cramps · in his stomach. His stomach swelled and swelled, and then it burst, and a throng of Babies spewed forth and started crying for water. Dying ofthirst, the Babies travelled north up to

an animal to kill until, almost at his final gasp, Akuka saw a bandicoot bolting for its burrow. His brother warned him not to kill it, for to kill one's own kind was taboo. Akuka ignored the warning. He dug the bandicoot from the burrow, speared it, skinned (u s) and ate it, and immediately felt cramps · in his stomach. His stomach swelled and swelled, and then it burst, and a throng of Babies spewed forth and started crying for water. Dying ofthirst, the Babies travelled north up to

could hear Arkady talking to the police­ man. They had both lived in Adelaide, in the suburb of St Peters. They had gone to the same school. They'd had the same maths master, but the policeman was five years older. 'It's a small world,' he said. 'It is,' said Arkady. 'So why do you bother with them? ' The policeman jerked his thumb at the Aboriginals. 'Because I like them.' 'And I like them,' he said. 'I like them ! I like to do what's right by them. �ut they're different.' ( 1 22) 'In what way

the ferry back from Manly a little old lady heard me talking. 'You're English, aren't you ?' she said, in an English North Country accent. 'I can tell you're English.' 'I am. ' 'So am I!' She was wearing thick, steel-framed spectacles and a nice felt hat with a wisp of blue net above the brim. 'Are you visiting Sydney?' I asked her. 'Lord, love, no !' she said, 'I've lived here since 1946. I came out to live with my son, but a very strange thing happened. By the time the ship got here, he'd died.

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