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Issue Details: First known date: 2015... 2015 Before the Nation : Rolf Boldrewood and the Problem of Scale in National Literatures
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'While Babes in the Bush is an artefact of Federation nationalism, the original serial, An Australian Squire, belongs to an earlier, pre-Federation era of colonial writing. That fine distinction is germane to my purpose in this essay, which explores the cartographic imaginary of that time before the nation. My reading of An Australian Squire is routed through the novel’s many allusions to James Fenimore Cooper’s The Pioneers (1823), among other British and American classics. My purpose is to view citational writing as an aesthetic practice that defines colonial literary culture prior to its self-consciously national period. Intertextuality is an aesthetic strategy by which colonial writers, in the absence of a felt national tradition – though in deliberate anticipation of one – set about using the classic works of British and American literature from the perspective of a new society. In the absence of such a tradition, An Australian Squire is a text whose cartographic imaginary is intra- and inter-colonial rather than national, albeit located within broader transnational or trans-imperial horizons. Finally, I use this case study of transnational fictions to reflect on the problem of scale in literary history and literary criticism, especially in the relationship between Australian literature – as an academic discipline – and world literature. What is the appropriate scale for the study of Australian literature? Is it desirable or even possible to study it on a ‘global’ or ‘world’ scale? What are the consequences of approaching a pre-national literature from the scale of the nation, or a national literature from the scale of the world?'

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Last amended 15 Dec 2016 10:49:32 Before the Nation : Rolf Boldrewood and the Problem of Scale in National Literaturessmall AustLit logo Australian Literary Studies
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