In the late nineteenth century, the Sydney barrister and critic, William Bede Dalley is reported to have said: ‘I enjoy literature in all its manifestations. But if there is one class of books I prefer to another, I think it must be’ – with a flash of his teeth – ‘why, New Books!’
It is possible to greet with equal enthusiasm however, the republication of an ‘old book’, especially when it happens to be a revised edition of Bernard Smith’s European Vision and The South Pacific, first published by Oxford University Press in 1960. Readers already familiar with the book will perhaps derive most pleasure from the handsome appearance and improved layout of the new edition. Whereas the first edition sent one scurrying back and forth from the text to the black-and-white illustrations at the end of the book, the illustrations in this edition are conveniently located close to the relevant text. Moreover, there are an additional fifty-one black-and-white illustrations as well as the introduction of thirty-two good quality colour plates.