The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature
OUP, 760 pp., $50 hb
This is a splendid book, by far the most important of the recent OUP contributions to the study of Australian literature. Everything that you ever wanted to know about Australian Literature. Comprehensive (amazingly), consistently lively, up to date, as far as I can judge, accurate.
I have played the usual reviewers’ game for a book like this – trying to find what has been left out. In my view: after three weeks (which is not nearly enough time) of living with the book, nothing important has been left out. If you want to sort out the Boyds, this is the book to do it for you. You can discover as much as you would want to know about shearers in Australian literature. It’s a delight to read. You can follow through from Cross, Zora (1890–1964), Crouch Gold Medal, Crow, of which there are several varieties, Croyston, John (1933), Crucible, see McKinney Jack, Cry in the Jungle Bar, Cultural Cringe, Cumpston, Ivy (1921–), Cunningham, Peter (1798–1864), Cunnington, Vivian (1921–). And it goes, on and on, relentlessly informative and interesting. Even on Bowyangs.