In A Critical Condition by John Docker

Reviewed by
June 1984, no. 61
Brendan Sargeant reviews 'In A Critical Condition' by John Docker

In A Critical Condition

by John Docker

' by John Docker

In A Critical Condition by John Docker

Reviewed by
June 1984, no. 61

John Docker has written an entertaining if uneven book on the history and politics of literary criticism in Australia. The subtitle of the book, ‘Struggles for control of Australian literature-then and now!’ along with the Pop Art cover, gives an indication of his combative and slightly melodramatic approach. The book is, however, extremely important and something of a landmark. It presents a broad overview of the institution of literary criticism and its teaching in Australia, especially during the 1950s and 1960s. It discusses the political implications of various critical methods, and draws attention to some of the wider social and political ramifications of what occurs in the English departments of tertiary institutions. There is also discussion of the work of individual writers such as Katharine Susannah Prichard and James McAuley. As Humphrey McQueen writes in the foreword to the book, ‘His work also deserves the attention of people whose first area of interest is not literary criticism, for example, anthropologists, historians and political scientists.’

Brendan Sargeant reviews 'In A Critical Condition' by John Docker

In A Critical Condition

by John Docker

' by John Docker

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