Cultural Identity in Nineteenth-Century Australian Literature Criticism: Overviews - Essay

Geoffrey Serle (essay date 1973)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Serle, Geoffrey. “Later Colonial c. 1850-1885.” In From Deserts the Prophets Come: The Creative Spirit in Australia 1788-1972, pp. 31-51. Melbourne: William Heineman, 1973.

[In the following excerpt, Serle discusses significant Australian poets and novelists of the late colonial period.]

Judith Wright has discerned a duality which is reflected in a large part of Australian literature: firstly, ‘the reality of exile’; secondly, ‘the reality of newness and freedom’. Australia has been both a society of transplanted Europeans and a new country with a novel contribution to make to the world. The conservative has seen it as a country to escape from or at...

(The entire section is 3465 words.)

Brian Kiernan (essay date 1976)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Kiernan, Brian. “Literature, History, and Literary History: Perspectives on the Nineteenth Century in Australia.” In Bards, Bohemians, and Bookmen, edited by Leon Cantrell, pp. 1-18. St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1976.

[In the following essay, Kiernan encapsulates the range of modern views of nineteenth-century Australian literary history.]

To trace the growth of letters in the community, from the earliest period of our history to the present time, and to show in what manner that growth had been influenced by the productions of the Mother Country … would amount to a literary history of the country, and it was hoped that...

(The entire section is 6917 words.)

Harry Heseltine (essay date 1982)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Heseltine, Harry. “The Uncertain Self: Notes on the Development of Australian Literary Form.” In Review of National Literatures: Australia, edited by L. A. C. Dobrez, pp. 85-113. New York: Griffin House Publications, 1982.

[In the following excerpt, Heseltine comments on Australian prose and poetry of the nineteenth century, noting the persistent theme of personal uncertainty in many of these works.]

What do I know? myself alone,
a gulf of uncreated night,
wherein no star may e'er be shown
save I create it in my might.

Christopher Brennan, Poems [1913], No. 42

On a swing at midnight in the black...

(The entire section is 5292 words.)