Discussions of Australian Literature

A bad habit has developed in some discussions of Australian literature -- the reduction of writers to a supposedly representative handful who are then meant to stand in for the many. Subtle readings that bring out the complexity and breadth of Australian writing are not helped by this kind of simplification, and someone from another planet, or the United Kingdom, might get the idea that Australian poetry was restricted to a choice between two or three somewhat self-serving aesthetic billabongs. Professor Geoffrey Blainey's well-known formulation that Australian history and culture had been formed under the pall of "the tyranny of distance" had its literary equivalent in the strangely disjunct yoking of cosmopolitan yearnings and parochial machinations. With a smallish readership, and when some of the poets concerned also reviewed, the resulting attempts at creating instant canons of the various orthodoxies were probably inevitable.
- Peter Nicholson, Gwen Harwood

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 31, 2007 9:06 AM.

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