History and Memory- “True History of the Kelly Gang” &"Charge of the Light Brigade”

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In the novel “True History of the Kelly Gang” by Peter Carey and Lord Tennysons poem “Charge of the Light Brigade” both authors manipulate their textual form to crystallise the perception of an inextricable link that exists between history and memory. The texts use methodical, documented fact to anchor the work in historic authenticity whilst Carey uses imaginative speculation to shape personal representation of events and Tennyson adds a personal perspective, both demonstrating how a subjective view can give new meanings to the cold facts of history.

The very backbone of Carey’s novel, its textual form, begins to shape a seemingly historical account, credible and authentic. The novel is presented as a chronological, autobiographical epistolary ‘Parcel 1. His life until age of 12. National Bank letterhead...’ This systematic structure paralleling traditional writing styles of Kelly’s time. While the novel opens with a fictional ‘Undated, unsigned, handwritten account in the collection of the Melbourne Public Library. (V.L. 10453)’ and a map of colonial Victoria and New South Wales further the creation of an historical setting. Thus the textual features play a key role in the development of history and memory as by adhering to audiences expectations of a historical document and offering a verifiable geographical context Carey creates a believable setting to which a fictional memory takes place thus highlighting the interplay between history and memory.

The fictional although emotive memory taking place in this historical setting is the key ingredient to demonstrating this relationship between history and memory, the bias history can carry in its “facts” and the answers to this bias that memory can hold. Carey uses textual form to present Kelly’s relationships and Irish history in way of explanation for his actions which serves to draw empathy from the reader. The colloquial simile ‘it were only as I held her that I knew how deep I loved her we were grown...
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