Reprint: Australian Literature

"One of the things that makes me waver in my faith for the future of Australian literature in the decay of humour," said Mr. F. W. Eggleston in an address to the Australia Literature Society last night. "Even the Irishmen have lost their sense of humour. There are fewer jokes in Bernard O'Dowd's works than in the Bible. After all the only cure for democracy is laughter, or - if you think that treason - laughter is the only thing that makes democracy tolerable." The subject of Mr. Eggleston's address was the influence of nationality on Australian literature. He said that Australia had produced no really great author, although much capable and conscientious work was being done. Since Bernard O'Dowd left off writing the nation's songs to write its laws, there had been no considerable figure in Australian literature. The best newspapers of the Commonwealth were making a definite attempt to create a literary tradition, and the standard of professional writing was high, despite the fact that writers appeared to be paid in inverse ratio to their qualities. A significant feature of Australian literature was the indifference of the public. The cardinal defect of Australian literature was that it showed lack of confidence in ourselves. When Australian writers gave their work a general appeal and ceased to imitate they would express a point of view that would be recognised as Australian.

First published in The Argus, 19 March 1929

[Thanks to the National Library of Australia's newspaper digitisation project for this piece.]

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 10, 2009 10:32 AM.

Hungry Heart was the previous entry in this blog.

Instances of Matilda #4 is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en