The Bulletin and the Rise of Australian Literary Nationalism Criticism: The Legend Of The Nineties - Essay

G. A. Wilkes (essay date 1958)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Wilkes, G. A. “The Eighteen Nineties.” In Australian Literary Criticism, edited by Grahame Johnston, pp. 30-40. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1962.

[In the following essay, originally published in 1958, Wilkes discusses the unique characteristics that defined Australian literature of the 1890s while commenting on major writers and works of the period.]

The first duty of anyone discussing Australian literature in the nineties is, I imagine, to demonstrate the existence of his subject. In Australia's literary development, is there a period ‘the nineties’ with distinctive characteristics that can be intelligently discussed, and if so, may the writing...

(The entire section is 4857 words.)

John Barnes (essay date 1969)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Barnes, John. “Discovering Australia: Commentary.” In The Writer in Australia: A Collection of Literary Documents 1856 to 1964, edited by John Barnes, pp. 65-70. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1969.

[In the following excerpt, Barnes remarks on the influence of A. G. Stephens as editor of the Bulletin's literary Red Page in the 1890s.]

To move from Desmond Byrne to A. G. Stephens writing in the same year—1896—is to alter sharply the perspective in which Australian writing is viewed. Stephens writes from within a new movement, hopeful of its future, and confident in his assessment of its importance … / [was] Stephens—the first significant...

(The entire section is 2421 words.)

Brian Kiernan (essay date 1974)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Kiernan, Brian. In Criticism, pp. 15-23. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1974.

[In the following excerpt, Kiernan examines Australian literary criticism of the 1890s, focusing on A. G. Stephens as “the critical patron of Australian literature” and his twentieth-century successor, Vance Palmer.]

Generally [Australian] critics were in basic agreement on their assumptions about the relationship between literature and society. They differed mainly in their opinions on the way in which the future ‘national literature’ could be best encouraged—by a disinterested appeal to the highest standards or by an encouraging response to the gallant efforts of...

(The entire section is 3674 words.)

Leon Cantrell (essay date 1977)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Cantrell, Leon. Introduction to The 1890s: Stories, Verse, and Essays, edited by Leon Cantrell, pp. xi-xxv. St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1977.

[In the following excerpt, Cantrell highlights the uniqueness of 1890s Australian literature and the significant developments in Australian literary history that occurred during this decade.]

The decade of the 1890s has meant many different things as Australians have tried to come to terms with their past. Perhaps there is always an aura of nostalgia and sentiment hanging over a period which seems to mark a watershed between an old way of life and a new. And when that period marks the closing years of a...

(The entire section is 5001 words.)

Chris Wallace-Crabbe (essay date 1982)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Wallace-Crabbe, Chris. “The Legend of the Legend of the Nineties.” In Review of National Literatures: Australia, edited by L. A. C. Dobrez, pp. 64-84. New York: Griffin House Publications, 1982.

[In the following essay, Wallace-Crabbe summarizes the literary period of 1888 to 1903 in Australia, commenting on the significance of the Bulletin and the writings of Henry Lawson, Joseph Furphy, and Christopher Brennan.]

In democratic communities each citizen is habitually engaged in the contemplation of a very puny object, namely, himself. If he ever raises his looks higher, he then perceives nothing but the immense form of society at...

(The entire section is 6545 words.)