'This book explores the work and career of Michael Wilding, one of the most significant literary figures in modern Australia. His oeuvre includes eleven volumes of short stories, several novels and memoirs, important editions of both Australian and English authors, and critical works on writers ranging from John Milton to Christina Stead. Through a close study of Wilding's short stories, novels, and memoirs this book traces the development of a complex aesthetic of "instant experience" or "immediate experience." . After moving from England to Australia as a young man, Wilding abandoned the high formalism of Henry James, an early influence, for a more fluid, informal, immediate, vernacular prose more in line with Jack Kerouac. The Jamesian influence was strongest in his first volume of fiction, Aspects of the Dying Process (1972). The Kerouacian influence dominated in some of the stories in The West Midland Underground (1975) and in novels such as Scenic Drive (1976). During those years Wilding produced fiction about the contemporary scene as it was happening around him, in the lively protest/counter culture environment of Sydney in the Sixties and Seventies. That meant writing, in part, about sexual relations in frank, open terms, and Wilding and his circle opened up Australian fiction, moving it away from "the wide brown land" tradition to a more urban, contemporary, experimental scene. Many of Wilding's stories were either written "for" someone or "at" someone. Those written "at" someone were often directed at a recurring figure such as a character named variously Joe, Wendell, or Holmes, Wilding's names for his friend and fellow writer, Frank Moorhouse. Wilding also wrote stories "at" Vicki Viidikas, another friend and talented writer from the counterculture. Wilding's contribution to the creation of modern Australian writing can also be seen in the formation of a small press, Wild & Woolley, in 1972. Wilding and his partner, Pat Woolley, published numerous poets and fiction writers, thus furthering the production and circulation of new writing. Wilding has continued his three-fold career into the present. Since 2000 he has produced a number of novels and two memoirs; he has also written studies of Australian literary traditions; and finally, he is active in a new publishing venture, Press On. Wilding has been a major force in Australian letters for half a century, a true man of letters in every sense. . By looking at Wilding's long and distinguished career, this book brings to the attention of a new generation of readers the quality and scope of his accomplishments in imaginative writing, scholarship, and publishing. Throughout this study the author draws upon extensive email exchanges with Wilding regarding his memories of those days and the stories and novels that resulted. His comments shed a unique perspective on his works and ideas from the beginning of his career until the present.'