Strange Country: A study of Randolph Stow by Anthony J. Hassall

by
October 1986, no. 85

Strange Country: A study of Randolph Stow by Anthony J. Hassall

University of Queensland Press, 207 pp, $30.00 pb

Strange Country: A study of Randolph Stow by Anthony J. Hassall

by
October 1986, no. 85

Professor Hassall’s study of Randolph Stow is indeed a strange country. A text which sets out to establish Stow as ‘a more important writer than is generally recognized’ and to show that his ‘best work bears comparison with Patrick White’s’ promises an intellectual engagement with either critics or the text or both which would lead to reassessment of Stow’s work. It appears that these are Aunt Sally’s – although Professor Leonie Kramer, who is presented as one of Stow’s ‘sterner “realist” critics’, can hardly be seen as such an aunt. Hassall puts her up but barely touches her, leaving the counterargument to Dorothy Green. Perhaps he’s being gentlemanly. However, to quote a paragraph from Green which asserts that ‘One of the greatest weaknesses of Australian criticism has always been its refusal to take religious ideas seriously’ is to take advantage of the lady. Hassall needs to fight his own battle against Leonie Kramer’s judgement of Stow’s work as being ‘quasi-religious’ and misguidedly experimental.

Ludmilla Forsyth reviews 'Strange Country: A study of Randolph Stow' by Anthony J. Hassall

Strange Country: A study of Randolph Stow

by Anthony J. Hassall

University of Queensland Press, 207 pp, $30.00 pb

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