Literary stocktaking

by
February 2008, no. 298

A Companion to Australian Literature Since 1900 edited by Nicholas Birns and Rebecca McNeer

Camden House, £50 hb, 496 pp

Literary stocktaking

by
February 2008, no. 298

When G.B. Barton presented his two works concerning the literary history of New South Wales to the Paris Exhibition of 1866, he hoped that they would enable readers ‘to form an exact idea of the progress, extent and prospects of literary enterprise among us’. The words are succinct, unobjectionable, and their sentiments influenced much of the literary history of the next century, much as the productions of that time were usually annals rather than analysis. Barton’s civic-minded project linked the maturing of Australian literature with its political culture. Implicit in his endeavour, though numerous others would use the metaphor outright, was the notion of ‘coming-of-age’. This chimera had as long a life as the search for the Great Australian Novel.

Peter Pierce reviews 'A Companion to Australian Literature Since 1900' edited by Nicholas Birns and Rebecca McNeer

A Companion to Australian Literature Since 1900

edited by Nicholas Birns and Rebecca McNeer

Camden House, £50 hb, 496 pp

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