…someone stirred up what was better forgotten…(Ian Wedde: Symmes Hole)

Hegel, in his Phänomenologie des Geistes, suggests that literary works are like ‘fine fruits fallen from the tree’: over time they manage to maintain less and less of that fresh, juicy memory of the social whole out of which they were produced (Hegel 1931: 435-6). What if, from the other side of the world and in particular historical and cultural moments, the exact opposite is true? What if certain works – and, it is probably obvious by now, this will be my organising fiction in the following discussion of Symmes Hole – some works, like avocados, take time to be ready for a more fruitful reception?

Twenty-firsts are, in New Zealand culture at least, a significant moment to shape and, in suitably ramshackle fashion, to mark various passages and shifts. This little essay offers itself as an early twenty-first birthday present for Symmes Hole for two reasons. Firstly, and perhaps trivially, I want to make sure the book itself doesn’t become one more ‘rumour of another history’ fallen from critical debate and discussion. It has been out of print for several years now, is – at least in the Australian state of Victoria – almost impossible to obtain and, after a decade-long burst of critical commentary, currently enjoys little sustained attention in scholarly literature. Meredith Criglington’s excellent article in the 2005 JNZL marks a welcome return of attention and served as my inspiration or second motivation. Criglington’s is the latest installation in a whole method of reading Symmes Hole initiated by Linda Hardy’s pioneering article ‘Natural Occupancy’, where the text is interrogated for its complicity and collusion with the colonising logic it presents itself as rejecting. This approach, as we shall see in a moment, is one I have a great deal of political sympathy with but which, in its focus on the figure of History itself, fundamentally misreads the novel’s perspective. The political intensity of the critique has, with each subsequent article, increased in scale; where Hardy admits to a scepticism, Criglington comes close to reading Symmes Hole as an agent of imperialism. It might be time to investigate other openings. By suggesting an alternative reading where we concern ourselves far more with Wedde’s negotiations with space, this twenty-first gift might mark an occasion to revisit these old debates and see if they take on new colourings.

Symmes Hole is significant in these debates for the quite brazen way it takes as its raw material the Important Questions of colonisation: space (the land in dispute, rituals of naming, occupancy, ownership) and time (history and its alternatives, the past and its legacy). These twin perspectives converge in the figure of the Researcher and his drug-induced epiphany where he waits for ‘history to come to him’ (242) and in the process channels an alternate vision of history into the spaces of the present. Space and Time are, in much recent writing, used synechdochially to figure the competing claims of historical progress and identity. Temporality itself is, as Susan Buck-Morss suggests, a figure of class struggle and historical progress, whereas representations of space write themselves as History’s opposite: ‘the terrain of class warfare is temporal. Class revolution is a historical event understood as an advance in time. What constitutes progress is described in terms of historical progress rather than territorial gain’ (Buck-Morss 2000: 23). But such a neat division cannot be mapped out onto the quite different terrain of societies defined historically by the experience of white settler colonialism, where the question of space (marked out in the messy compromise liberals occasionally attempt by identifying something they call ‘Aotearoa/New Zealand’, eliding what are as much labels for alternate modes of production as they are proper nouns) is always implicated in any narrative of historical change or social struggle. As Simon During shrewdly observed: ‘in the West no concept has been more entrenched than that of the “modern”. The West? The peculiar force of the modern is such that in this context one can qualify that clumsy, spatializing metonymy most “naturally” by the adjective “modern” itself’ (During 1990: 227). Where earlier approaches to Symmes Hole cast it as a historical novel complicit with a colonizing logic, and hence in need of a good dose of ideological exposure, I want to recast it as a map, a guide for producing or programming particular types of reader which, in offering the Researcher as the Pakeha reader’s double or model of subjectivity, in fact undermines the very ideological methods Criglington and Hardy chastise it for upholding. To arrive at this position, however, we must first take a brief detour through the two dominant modes of readingSymmes Hole.


Using the convenient shorthand available to us, we can divide readings of Symmes Hole thus far as being either with or against the grain or, in another register, based on approaches of trust and suspicion.

The first of these approaches is the least interesting and need not detain us long. Uncritically accepting the text as a celebration of the forgotten and marginalised of history, Symmes Hole is praised for the ‘stubborn and resourceful humanity’ of its characters and celebrated as ‘a fully imagined work’ (see e.g. Riach 1986: 498; Evans 1990: 277). John McLaren makes the transition from criticism to enthusiasm effortlessly. Wedde, in this reading, ‘recaptures the past for a people whom received history has submerged’ and:

In Symmes Hole Ian Wedde writes for the forgotten people, the white first-footers who sailed beyond their law to join their blood with the Maoris [sic] in establishing a community that belonged to both black and white, to the islands of New Zealand and the sea that surrounded them and gave them their high-ways and their livelihood. (McLaren 1992: 119)

This blood-and-soil rhetoric is enough to put even the most determined liberal’s teeth on edge and the hermeneutics of suspicion practiced by Hardy, Prentice and Criglington certainly make for far more productive reading.

Linda Hardy pioneers the approach to Symmes Hole ‘against the grain’ in her key essay ‘Natural Occupancy’. Here, Wedde is placed alongside other European postcolonial writers whose rhetorical strategies involve figuring an alternate moment of origins where ‘[t]o surrender the furnishings of a culture both European and bourgeois is to come into the sensuality of a “natural occupancy” of the new land’ (Hardy 1995: 214). Far from writing ‘for the forgotten people’, then, Symmes Hole in fact provides a new ideological cover for the far too familiar process of colonising appropriation and serves as a new way to avoid thinking through the complications of indigeneity and settlement. ‘The pleasure afforded by these fictions’, Hardy continues, ‘is that they allow the heirs of a settler society to imagine our unhistoric origin as the (possibility of the) making of a settlement without a colony’ (Hardy 1995: 214). Symmes Hole, for all its narrative flourishes, is recognised here as just another instance of the project of attempted Pakeha self-legitimation. Chris Prentice expands on how the novel is

predicated on the functioning of Maori subjectivity as alibi for the Pakeha project of self-legitimation in the post-colonial moment. Generating a discursive (post-)colonization, such strategies re-inscribe the colonial encounter, effecting a (re)appropriation of the place of the (post-)colonized, in a project of Pakeha authentication and legitimation.(Prentice 1998: 89)

Wedde is closer to Wakefield, in other words, than he might be entirely comfortable with and, ‘if the postmodernism of Wedde’s fragmented narratives and concern with American neo-imperialism gives way to the reinscription of the master narratives of oedipalization and patriarchy, then the novel is no less problematical as a post-colonial revision of the basis of settler nationalism’ (Prentice 1998: 96). Whatever its stated aims, objectively, as they used to say in Communist circles, Symmes Hole finds itself strengthening and refounding the very settler nationalism and ideology of ownership and occupancy it set out to challenge and undermine. Meredith Criglington’s recent article is the latest development of this approach. In a careful and convincing reading she focuses on Wedde’s representation of urban space and comes to the conclusion that Wedde’s ‘conception of urban space is premised on an opposition with ‘the natural’ which is problematically associated with ‘the native’ and thus serves, paradoxically, to reinforce the essentializing rationales of imperialism’ (Criglington 2005:10)

Reinforcing imperialism is strong stuff and Criglington, to my mind at least, overstates the powers of fiction; one doubts that Don Brash brushed up on his memory of Symmes Hole pre-Orewa. But before I move on to enter my quarrel with this reading it is important to recognise the valuable gains in Hardy, Prentice and Criglington’s approach. All three are attentive to the quite complex ideological operations in the work and all three pay real attention to the formal and narrative issues provoked by Wedde’s reworking of history in a manner far more rewarding than Riach or McLaren’s simple celebration of the ‘forgotten’ humanity Wedde restores. Hardy, Prentice and Criglington also draw attention to the drearily traditional and Romantic manipulations of gender inSymmes Hole where, Hardy argues, ‘women figure as the ‘real’, as the closure of that gap between discourse, with its deferrals and substitutions, and bodily and metaphysical plenitude’ (Hardy 1989: 428). The ground cleared by these articles practising a hermeneutic of suspicion makes possible further research; one hopes to see, for example, further research interrogating the novel’s attitude toward the figure of the Asian, a settler conspicuously and, with paranoid excess, excluded in the narrative from the rhetoric of ‘natural occupancy’ offered to Europeans.

But here I want to suggest that readings of Symmes Hole move from the terrain of history to that of space. Hardy’s approach – which from now on we can use as convenient shorthand for the argument expanded and developed by Prentice and Criglington as well – succeeds at the price of a deeper failure. In reading the novel as a variation on the manifesto, Hardy erases and conceals its fundamental subject matter: the novel’s contemporary situation and how its main character, the Researcher, is to get his bearings there. In pursuing the figure of Heberley as a putative alternative to the official history of Wakefield, Hardy ignores the ways in which the Heberley of the novel is already constructed, a product of the Researcher’s imagination and drug-induced delusions (cf. Calder 1989: 485). By figuring the novel as an essentially nostalgic or regretful lament for a lost historical opportunity, Hardy neglects the ways in which the novel figures the Wellington of its own moment as a determinate space to be negotiated in particular ideological ways. This last point is crucial. My argument with Hardy is not just one of detail or emphasis. If Zola was right to insist that ‘at the bottom of all literary quarrels there is always a philosophical question’ (quoted in Grant 1970: 21), then a shift in focus from Heberley and origins to the Researcher and the spaces of the present may produce quite different political inflections as well. If the Researcher’s mythical recreation of Heberley serves, as Hardy suggests, as a vehicle for ‘natural occupancy’, then his descent into madness and paranoia as he tries to live by this myth of origins ironically undermines its own status and, alongside it, the status of another Researcher from the mid-1980s who laboured to produce the ‘rumour of another history’ for contemporary ideological consumption. This figure is, of course, the Ian Wedde of thePenguin Book of New Zealand Verse and its own particular arguments. But more of this in a moment.

The rhetoric Hardy and those who come after her employ when discussing Symmes Hole underlines how little they consider the ideological dynamics produced by its statusas novel and not as manifesto or analysis. Hardy herself restlessly presses beyond the text to its sources in historical documents, spending almost as much space discussing the historical Heberley’s journal as she does the novel’s recreation of him (cf. Hardy 1997: 190). Criglington repeats this focus, reporting how ‘as a matter of historical fact’ Heberley did ally himself with Wakefield in ways the text suggests otherwise (Criglington 2005: 12). Prentice makes no concessions to Symmes Hole’s form or fictional status, presenting it instead as an interrogation of ‘traditional historiography’ which proposes ‘Heberley as a pre-foundational figure at the basis of New Zealand history’ (Prentice 1998: 88, 89). Brian Greenspan takes this literalist approach to comic extremes when he, straight faced, informs the reader that he has ‘found nothing to verify Wedde’s suggestion that Reynolds also manufactured the aluminum for the nuclear submarines with which the American government still searches for the inner earth’s polar access’ (Greenspan 2001: 160). This is not only a latter-day instance of the intentional fallacy but it seems to have passed Greenspan by that these claims are advanced in the novel by a man who had ‘stuck a leviathan track of Galkin’s ‘frozen trevalli bait’ up his nose and was waiting for history to come to him’ (242). None of this is to suggest some fantasy innocent reading where the political content of the novel is emptied and we can again enjoy it in uncomplicated fashion but, rather, to suggest that we need to be attentive to the ways form impacts on ideology. Or, as ‘Dr Keehua Roa’ coyly hints in the novel’s sham introduction, the question must be ‘what has Wedde to say in a novelabout this submerged history?’ (8) The answer has more to do with negotiating the space of the present than it does with reconfiguring the time of the past.


I tramp my streets into recognition.
Charles Brasch, ‘Home Ground’ (Law and Murray 2004: 92)

Just over half of Symmes Hole’s eleven sections are directly concerned with the experience of the Researcher; he creates the rest of the novel and fashions a Heberley who is his alter ego. But most Wedde scholarship focuses almost exclusively on the figure of Heberley at the expense of the Researcher. Furthermore, for Hardy’s reading to be convincing, the Researcher needs to be sidelined in order for the dream of ‘natural occupancy’ to attain the nostalgic status of failure:

In the retrospective gloss of Symmes Hole the reader is meant to recognise the one chance we had of becoming an authentically ‘new people’ was lost when the Wakefields succeeded in writing our ‘official’ history, and the Heberley’s faded into ‘the rumour of another history’. (Hardy 1995:222)

But is this the Researcher’s approach to Heberley? It is in this summary that Hardy’s neglect of Symmes Hole’s status as a novel reveals its most damaging effects. Novels operate on a different ideological plane to the historical study or argument and may organise themselves so their characters’ nostalgia and regrets are not transferred to their created readers. Part of the project of the novel, from the era of the great realisms and since, has been to produce certain readers, to forge determinate forms of subjectivity. The model in this process is, surely, the Researcher himself and not his creation Heberley. ‘Narrative forms’, as Jameson argues elsewhere, ‘construct their new world by programming their readers; by training them in new habits and practices, which amount to whole new subject-positions in a new kind of space; producing new kinds of action’. (Jameson 1990: 166) The subject matter to hand in this process is not Heberley but Wellington itself.

I was reminded of these lines of Jameson’s after, with the enthusiasm of the recent convert, I pressed copies of the novel on friends in Australia. Sharing Mark Williams’ assumption that Wedde had ‘moved beyond realism without abandoning it all together’ (Williams 1990: 9), I was shocked to discover how difficult my friends found it to imagine the Researcher’s long stumble home from the Beehive. Without some cognitive map of Wellington the rest of Symmes Hole becomes unreadable and, where I had found ‘thick description’ and imaginative recreation they found nothing but a list of street names and ensuing confusion. These different reactions provided a clue to uncovering the subject matter of the novel itself; where Criglington detects ‘antipathy’ and a ‘dystopian vision of Wellington’ (Criglington 2005: 10), I’m struck instead by the excessive force with which the city looms in the text, the redundant abundance of detail and local content decipherable only to those familiar with it. Hardy stresses Heberley’s code (‘rule number one, know where you are’ [190]) as an ideological key to the book but, like most other critics, pays scant attention to the Researcher’s updated version. Regretting the demise of the Popular Milkbar he claims that

what mattered was, you were there, and you knew it (here)…that was what mattered, that you too were sitting in a calm space in the midst of that end-of-workday toil; you knew where you were, and you understood them. (250)

This knowledge separates the Researcher from those ‘getting-home-from-the-movies outer-city folk’ he sees in Courtenay Place who ‘hurry past this rowdy evidence that they were somewhere in the Pacific’. (240) No Althusserian, the Researcher believes that this older type of city life – captured as the Popular Milkbar versus McDonald’s – offered direct, ideology-free access to the real: ‘you were always aware of being half in the street – you had a direct connection with what was happening out there…your education…was primary’. (249) Not only does it offer this sort of eyeball-to-eyeball, direct and unmediated access to lived experience, it can be recreated.

Far from seeing this moment as lost forever, the Researcher’s obsessive and excessive ritual of naming attempts to re-enact the immediacy and the innocence of this occupancy in the present. If McDonald’s is ‘really, literally, nowhere’ (250) the Researcher goes to great lengths to establish how Wellington is somewhere. Wellington, far from being the dystopia Criglington detects, is presented as a positive alternative: ‘who needs crypto-Enlightenment festivals…when you can have the Port Jerningham Battery, and the Porirua Mongrels trashing a ute truck outside the Magistrates Court in Balance Street?’ (276) The later parts of the novel, the most neglected sections in discussions of Symmes Hole, abound in these excessive flourishes of detail and studiedly local content. A woman has a ‘shirt from the Farmer’s, Cuba Street’ (258), the Researcher imagines ‘the backyard dogs of Newtown and Brooklyn Hill and Aro Street and other westerly points in the urban circumference given [their] last lick of glory as the sun dropped north’ (239) and informs us that ‘he was slowly past the Taj off the bottom of Courtenay Place’ (273). Proper nouns instead of ‘thick description’ are the arsenal in the Researcher’s rhetorical strategy. Like Brasch’s over-familiar poem, which mobilises the proper noun for similar purposes, Symmes Holeenacts the ‘natural occupancy’ it claims is historically no longer available.

More importantly, too, are the exercises in cognitive mapping the Researcher engages in after his puke-protest in the McDonald’s. He imagines his walk home, again through the act of naming; down Courtenay Place, past the Wakefield/Cambridge Terrace intersection, past Freyberg Pool, along Oriental Parade and up Grass Street. (260) This activity isn’t limited to his own life, either; the Researcher imagines a trip home to Brooklyn via Vivian Street and Tory Street for ‘Helen’ of the Popular Milkbar.

His historical investigations and obsessions form the backdrop for this, his more properly pressing and engaged task: cognitive mapping. Although he may employ a rhetoric of regret and loss – and what liberal appeal to history has ever not involved dewy-eyed appeals to a time of lost innocence and immediacy? – the Researcher enacts ‘natural occupancy’ in his rendering of Wellington itself. Hardy locates the novel’s ideological centre in Heberley and his realisation of time on the beach, where ‘he would now be able to see great chiefs and a woman he loved with his life…where the likes of Captain Wakefield would only see savages’ (220). But the sparks really fly where the novel is hardest at work in attempting to produce reading subjects for its own day; in the zone of space, sitting at the Popular Milkbar, ‘where you could sit and escape without ever leaving’ (252). Escaping without leaving is as good a description of the flight from History to ideological innocence as we’re ever likely to get. The text parades a concern with the past and with lost time in order all the more effectively to foster this active nostalgia, this sense of occupancy in the city. Symmes Hole’s concerns, in other words, are not with the past and our access to it after the fall but are, rather, with what space we can carve ‘plying back and forth between the arseholes of ‘the present’.’ (19)


That fabulous early recounting promised nothing less than a fabulous novel whose time-and-history warps have had me adding Wedde to that front-line of Symmes Holecharacters.
Dr Keehua Roa (14)

Still, merely listing these local details and shifts of emphasis does not yet do much to challenge directly the political claims articulated in the best Wedde scholarship. It is not much of an advance if the Popular Milkbar is now the site of nostalgia and loss and not the Sounds of Heberley’s day. My concluding comments, then, return again to the question of reader-effects in the novel, and to the kind of models it offers us. While Prentice and Hardy both discuss the Researcher’s ill-fated fall in ‘a shower of plaster and dust…screaming, slap-bang into the family dinner’ (189), neither of them seems particularly concerned with the way in which the text maps out its narrator’s mental degeneration, nor with his teasingly detailed proximity to Wedde himself. Both these details, I suggest, work within the text to undermine the logic of ‘natural occupancy’ the Researcher himself advances.

When ‘Dr Keehua Roa’ suggests Wedde as a character to be added to Symmes Hole, the introduction points out a wider context intimately connected to the text. In an interview with Landfall published a year before Symmes Hole appeared, Wedde recounts his family history – almost identical to that of the Researcher’s – and agrees that the novel is, in David Dowling’s words, ‘very much’ a ‘record of self-discovery’. The danger with self-discovery, of course, is that we can find out too much. Wedde notes that during the process of writing ‘what happened to the central character, getting lost in an obsession, happened to me to a degree – a breakdown between that needed space between me and the pronoun’ (Dowling 1985: 168). These details would be the usual boring biographical reductionism were it not for the project Wedde was researching at the time, the Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse. Although, curiously, ignored by Hardy this text is, far more openly than Symmes Hole, a direct intervention into the debate on the search for (and construction of) origins. Wedde, in his introduction, makes this case explicit:

By the time you have got it straight about where you are (where here is), thewho may follow more naturally: the tenure of your whakapapa will be extensive enough to stand between you and delusion; the legendary can properly have become mythic. (Wedde 1985: 31-32; cf also Wedde 1995: 60)

We can read the Researcher as someone who attempts to live this programme. With a sort of liberal voluntarism he attempts to ‘conjure Heberley up from the past’ (Prentice 1998: 92) and is forced into attempting to construct a whole alternate Pacific tradition – Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson, the Popular Milkbar, Mocha Dick – in order to create a whakapapa which can ‘stand between [him] and delusion’. But, and it is astonishing that earlier critics pay such little attention to these narrative details, he fails and delusion sets in. The Wedde/Researcher figure attempts to live by the code of ‘imagining an unhistoric origin’ that can be involved in making ‘a settlement without a colony’ (Hardy 1995: 222) and pays the price in the form of raving madness, substance-induced delirium, paranoia and domestic misery. His marriage collapses – ‘you want to be like those other fuckwits’, his wife asks at one stage, ‘the Malcolm Lowry club?’ (144) – and the novel itself exhausts itself into an ending with a brazenly utopian escape from the city to the countryside of whaling stories and erotic simplicity. What looks like wish fulfillment on first reading, though, underlines the Researcher’s deeper failure; in abandoning Wellington he abandons also the space he has staked out for his occupancy in the form of cognitive mapping and the act of naming. Even his revelations about McDonald’s are the product of drug-induced delusion and can be idly laughed off by the group of young Maori ‘Rastas’ (264) with whom the Researcher cannot communicate. The novel cannot end: without providing some definite resolution and closure the sham which is ‘natural occupancy’ exposes itself and yet the longer the narrative is played out the more obvious its contortions and confidence tricks become (cf. Hardy 1989: 428).

Finally, Symmes Hole undermines the ideological underpinning of Wedde’s strategy of locality-creation on the economic plane as well. At the very moment New Zealand capital was in the process of extreme recomposition, deregulation and exposure to so-called ‘globalisation’, Wedde indicates his Researcher’s organising economic logic by setting up the contest of genuine spaces as one between McDonald’s (bad) and the Popular Milk Bar (good). The Researcher exposes his own thinking as utopian nostalgia, reliant on a protectionist, Muldoonist-Keynesian model local capital had itself long since ceased to need. On the plane of economics or exploitation the difference between McDonald’s – which is, in any case, a franchise with local owners – and the Popular Milkbar is merely one of scale. The fact that the Researcher has such an intense ideological investment in the Popular Milkbar – it is the place, remember, where ‘you had a direct connection with what was happening’ (249) – reinforces the reader’s suspicion that what we are dealing with here is a variant on the older genre of wish fulfilment. This also is wish fulfilment of a very specific kind: petty bourgeois fantasies in the era of Rogernomics. Old certainties have come unstuck, but no amount of naming or dreaming – no amount, in other words, of solutions imagined at an individual level – will regain them.

This, put bluntly, is the heart of the matter: Symmes Hole argues that those who try to live by individualist solutions of liberal identity and refashioned pasts go mad, suffer paranoid delusions and fail in their marriages. A writer of the post-war boom like Brasch could genuinely hope to ‘tramp [his] streets into recognition’ and has the ideological confidence to follow this line with the next announcing ‘they know me now and make no sign’ (Brasch 2001: 92). Wedde is closer to his hero Melville: written as the age of whaling comes to an end and beginning with its famous opening sentence of self-creation, Moby Dick registers a profound crisis of representation in the face of a changing moment in the world system (cf. Casarino 2002). Symmes Hole is a novel of the crisis years of the 1980s and, far from reinvigorating the ‘natural occupancy’ tradition, Wedde unconsciously reveals its inner exhaustion and collapse.

We end up, as so often, then, with our beginning and the figure of Hegel. These final comments all indicate that the exposures and undermining operations Symmes Holeeffects on one particular strand of colonizing ideology presses it up against what are, essentially, epistemological problems of how it is we are to come to know the spaces we inhabit and the world system which inhibits them. These problems, for Marxism at least, go under the name of reification and act as ideological blockages in our attempts to fashion narratives or representations of the world. Die Phänomenologie des Geisteshas this to say:

In modern times, however, the individual finds the abstract form ready-made; the effort to grasp and appropriate it is more the direct driving forth of what is within the truncated generation of the universal than it is the emergence of the latter from the concrete variety of existence. Hence the task nowadays consists not so much in purging the individual of an immediate, sensuous mode of apprehension, and making him into a substance that is an object of thought and that thinks, but rather just the opposite; in freeing determinate thoughts from their fixity so as to give actuality to the universal, and impart to it spiritual life. But it is far harder to bring fixed thoughts into a fluid state than to do so with sensuous existence. (Hegel 1967: 19-20)

Nowhere does this challenge pose itself more urgently than, for the so-called ‘postcolonial’ nations at least, in the questions of the space of land, occupancy and ownership. The ongoing implications of Don Brash’s recasting of the struggle, on a discursive register at least, in Orewa in 2004 indicate that this debate will present itself with an ever-increasing urgency to those of us who wish to combat colonising logic still at work in New Zealand society today. Symmes Hole provides a great service in illustrating the bankruptcy of solutions limited in their horizons by outlooks informed by myths of origins and, behind these, the viewpoint of individualized bourgeois subjectivity. The present juncture demands narratives that aim once again to represent the social totality and, crucially, articulate the need for collective solutions to our current impasses. There is not the space any more for yet another reworking of Pakeha myths of innocence and origin, or what another, more famous, postcolonial novel of origins casts as ‘that which never was’. Symmes Hole, in exposing its own tradition’s exhaustion can, hopefully, be used to clear the discursive field and open new areas for us to examine those collective solutions to come.


Linda Hardy offered valuable criticisms of some earlier, more shambolic, rehearsals of the argument advanced in this essay and I thank her for her patience.


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