mercredi 19 mai 2010

Parution: Ozlit

Dear blog fans,

Please note that a pluridisciplinary e-journal, CERCLE, specialising in the English-speaking world has published my review of :

The Literature of Australia by Nicholas Jose (ed.) London & New York: Norton, 2009, xxxviii, 1464 pp. Hardback, US $49.95. ISBN 978-0-393-07261-7.

The Cambridge History of Australian Literature by Peter Pierce (ed.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2009, x, 612pp. Hardback, AUD $140.00. ISBN 978-0-521-88165-4.

It is interesting to find out that Australian fiction is expanding across borders. Here's a sneak preview:

Back in November 2005, Australian creative writer Nicholas Jose observed in an essay retracing the genesis of the PEN anthology project that ‘An earlier generation’s commitment to putting Australian literature on the world map has waned, leaving it pretty well off the world’s map, except for the representative writer or two who fills the slot. Australian literature has been squeezed by globalisation in the marketplace, intellectual fashion in the academy and opposition to cultural intervention in the public sphere’ [Australian Book Review 276: 27]. Jose’s comment is an elaboration of the alarm bell that has been sounded earlier in the century. In his ‘General Introduction’, Jose lists the causes for the backdrop crisis in one recapitulative statement: ‘The reasons for this state of affairs can be summed up as a combination of changing intellectual approaches in the academy, including resistance to nationalist constructions of literature; shorter term, market driven publishing arrangements in an increasingly competitive and globalised media environment; reduced responsibility for cultural heritage, especially literature, in public policy, and the changing habits of new generations of consumers’ [2-3]. In 2006, this inconvenient truth which had so far circulated within Australianists’ circles was thrown to the face of a wider readership when Rosemary Neill’s controversial piece in The Weekend Australian pointed to 'the neglect of Australian literature’. Admittedly ‘Lost for Words’ caused quite a stir, and some scholars even wished that it had never been written, but by acting as a resonance chamber to ‘the chorus of concern that Australian literature was losing its place’ [2], Neill might have brought greater awareness to the necessity of globalising Australian literature.

There is no denying that the last couple of years show an impressive production of encyclopedic knowledge of Australian writings. Take for instance Nicholas Birns and Rebecca McNeer’s A Companion to Australian Literature Since 1900 (Camden House, 2007), the first companion published since Elizabeth Webby’s The Cambridge Companion to Australian Literature (2000), and – may I be forgiven if it sounds pushy – my modest contribution: Panorama du roman australien (Hermann, 2009), the first comprehensive single-authored literary history of the Australian novel ever published. And now two further additions to this prolific output are The Literature of Australia (2009), the Norton edition of Nicholas Jose’s Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature, and more recently, Peter Pierce’s The Cambridge History of Australian Literature.

To be continued here:

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