Australian Literature

The more I think about it the more I am convinced that Ken Goodwin must have found this a brute of a book to write. Not that difficulties are apparent in the writing. Far from it. It is simply that, in looking at it from a reviewer’s point of view, I am increasingly aware of the constraints under that the author must have suffered while managing to produce a book which the general reader and the interested undergraduate will find both interesting and useful.

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The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature edited by William H. Wilde, Joy Hooton, and Barry Andrews

December 1985–January 1986, no. 77

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 ...

The title of David Malouf’s novel, An Imaginary Life, must be read three ways. Most obviously, the novel is an imaginative recreation of the last years of the life of the Roman poet, Publius Ovidius Naso (Ovid), who was exiled to a village on the Black Sea by the Emperor Augustus in the last century BCE. The life is imaginary because it imagines – most successfully – the circumstances of this exile.

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