The Lamb Enters the Dreaming: Nathanael Pepper and the Ruptured World

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5.3 X 8.2 X 1.2 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author

Robert Kenny is an Australian poet and historian. He has published widely on the history of religion and science, and is also the author of several volumes of poetry and fiction. The Lamb Enters the Dreaming won the 2008 Prime Minister's Prize for Australian History, the Victorian Premier's History Prize, and the Australian Historical Association's W. H. Hancock Prize. He is Visiting Fellow at the Alfred Deakin Research Institute, Deakin University, and Honorary Associate in the School of Humanities, La Trobe University. He has previously been a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University, and a Peter Blazey Fellow at the University of Melbourne. He lives in Redesdale, Victoria.


"A startling new immense contribution to reconciliation consciousness in our twenty-first-century Australia."
--Rhys Isaac, historian and author of Pulitzer Prize-winning The Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790

"Robert Kenny enters with tender respect the cruelly ruptured world of the Australians as represented by the Wotjobaluk people...The Lamb Enters the Dreaming has a depth and breadth of reflection that goes well beyond our usual topical histories...It really is a mystery tour through such matters as translation, language, mission strategy, conversion, totemism, tradition, culture, sorcery, scripture, Darwinianism and evangelicalism. All this is done with a light touch, always with a sense of ongoing puzzlement and of closure still to come...Take your time. Enjoy the ride."
Greg Dening, The Age

"[A] distinctive and beautiful book...Quest narrative, study in the act of study, retrospect on fad and fashion in science and anthropology, The Lamb Enters the Dreaming positions itself as a sophisticated product, both humane and subtle, empirical and artistic. It also advances several illuminating ideas about the colonial encounter...A bravura book, all complexity and self-doubt, The Lamb will doubtless be much admired and imitated in years to come...With all its entranced, gazing fascination, The Lamb does enter the dreaming, and leaves it a changed world."
Nicolas Rothwell, Weekend Australian

"Sparkles with wit and intelligence...the scholarship is most impressive."
--Henry Reynolds, multi-award-winning author of The Other Side of the Frontier

"Robert is a profound scholar, reflecting in this book on the great issues of our time: evolution, culture, identity, language, translation, conversion, the post-colonial world...Elegant and engaging, wide-ranging and wise."
--John Hirst, historian

"Elegantly written and powerfully argued...The Lamb Enters the Dreaming provides a new way of looking at a crucial aspect of Australian colonial history in a way that is truly original, surprising and profound."
--The judges of the 2008 Prime Minister's Prize for Australian History

"The book enlarges our understanding of the rich creativity of Aboriginal engagement with the invading culture. In doing so it also shows a highly innovative sense of place and landscape. A first-person narrative style is used to great advantage, and held in fine and effective balance with highly skilled critical judgement. It is a brilliant book."
--The judges of the 2008 W.K Hancock Prize

"This is one of the most important books on Aboriginal Australia yet written."
--Robin Osborne, Daily Examiner

"This is a rare book. It is not often in Australian history that you come across a historian who is as interested in historical method--the practice of constructing history--as he is in his subject...Kenny's personal journey is an important part of the story, reminding us of the constant dialogue between past and present, and I am glad he has included this in the book. He takes his time, working through the complex system of belief and interpretation of Christianity pervasive racial science and Wotjabaluk lore. While it can be slow, deep reading, it is good reading: we have learnt to be attentive to detail, and the gentle conclusions that Kenny offers are rewarding. I could continue to praise Kenny for his original and fine scholarship, his poetic style and for illuminating such an important story; however he has just been awarded joint recipient of the Prime Minister's History prize which reveals the quality and positive reception of this book."
--Tiffany Shellam, Aboriginal History

"I found the Lamb Enters the Dreaming stimulating, challenging some of my own assumptions about missionary encounters. It is also beautifully written."
--Peggy Brock, Australian Historical Studies

"This is a probing, tantalizing, imaginative form of history that deals in possibilities, probabilities, plausibilities...There is much that is admirable in The Lamb Enters the Dreaming. Histories such as Kenny's remind us that cultural difference matters, the frontier was often a violent place, and that racism is part of our history. But only part--for he also reveals the potential for understanding, belief, compassion, friendship and sharing that transcends racial difference."
--Frank Bongiorno, Sydney Morning Herald

"[Kenny] shares with Inga Clendinnen a drive to decipher the Aboriginal responses to conquest, recognizing that they too were sentient beings with organized moral and spiritual codes."
--Stephen Saunders, Canberra Times

"If you only read one work of Australian history in 2007, make it this one...Kenny has written a profoundly important book about the nature of culture and identity, about Christianity and its place in Australian history, and about science and faith."
--Joanna Cruickshank, Eureka Street

"It is history, powerful; captivating, profound...Robert Kenny offers a journey that will take you a great deal further than the Australian Government's citizen test."
--Jennie Gordon, Insights

"The Lamb Enters the Dreaming is a wonderful piece of historical exploration; it is extremely well researched, and imbued with humanity."
--Timothy Trudgen, Journey

"Robert Kenny is an academic and historian who has written on literature, religious history and the history of science--he is also a published fiction writer and poet, and he brings that poetic sensitivity to language to his work. This is a, aided by Kenny's clarity of thought and ease of expression. It has much to say to our contemporary lives and is worth the effort."
--Barry Gittins, On Fire, The Salvation Army magazine

"Robert Kenny's work is exceptional, a major contribution that takes us to the precipice of understanding several dimensions of the 219-year relationship between indigenous Australians."
--Peter Botsman, The University of Melbourne Voice