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'Remember the days of the old school yard? I do. More precisely, I remember much of what took place in my senior English classroom. More than a quarter of a century later, I can still recall the excitement I felt in reading particular books and authors for the first time. What I do not recall, however, is an instance of the nationality of an author influencing my engagement with their writing. For example, thinking back on why I enjoyed reading My Brother Jack, I recollect I found George Johnston's central character David Meredith appealing, but not as a representation of what it is to be an Australian. The Australia of My Brother Jack is certainly not the Australia I knew in the early 1980s, and David Meredith's experiences seemed as foreign to me then as the poets-of-origin of the clipper ships which so fascinated him. I was drawn to Meredith because of his determination to be free and - if I am honest - I hoped that I might one day end up partnered with my Cressida Morley. Is there anything exclusively Australian about David Meredith's yearning for freedom? I don't think so, not least because my reading of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tennyson's 'Ulysses' in that same school year suggested parallels in the motivations of all three characters.' (From author's preface, 108)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y Teaching Australian Literature : From Classroom Conversations to National Imaginings Brenton Doecke (editor), Larissa McLean-Davies (editor), Philip Mead (editor), Kent Town : Wakefield Press Australian Association for the Teaching of English , 2011 Z1851330 2011 anthology criticism 'What role should Australian literature play in the school curriculum? What principles should guide our selection of Australian texts? To what extent should concepts of the nation and a national identity frame the study of Australian writing? What do we imagine Australian literature to be? How do English teachers go about engaging their students in reading Australian texts?

    This volume brings together teachers, teacher educators, creative writers and literary scholars in a joint inquiry that takes a fresh look at what it means to teach Australian literature. The immediate occasion for the publication of these essays is the implementation of The Australian Curriculum: English, which several contributors subject to critical scrutiny. In doing so, they question the way that literature teaching is currently being constructed by standards-based reforms, not only in Australia but elsewhere.

    The essays assembled in this volume transcend the divisions that have sometimes marred debates about the place of Australian literature in the school curriculum. They all recognise the complexity of what secondary English teachers do in their efforts to engage young people in a rich and meaningful curriculum. They also highlight the need for both secondary and tertiary educators to cultivate an awareness of the cultural and intellectual traditions that mediate their professional practice and to encourage a critically responsive pedagogy.' (Publisher's blurb)
    Kent Town : Wakefield Press Australian Association for the Teaching of English , 2011
    pg. 108-128
Last amended 28 Mar 2012