'The Oxford History of the Novel in English is a 12-volume series presenting a comprehensive, global, and up-to-date history of English-language prose fiction and written by a large, international team of scholars. The series is concerned with novels as a whole, not just the 'literary' novel, and each volume includes chapters on the processes of production, distribution and reception, and on popular fiction and the fictional sub-genres, as well as outlining the work of major novelists, movements and tendencies.
'This volume offers a comprehensive account of the production of English language novels and related prose fiction since 1950 in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. After the Second World War, the rise of cultural nationalism in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand and movements towards independence in the Pacific islands, together with the turn toward multiculturalism and transnationalism in the postcolonial world, has called into question the standard national frames for literary history. This has resulted in an increasing recognition of formerly marginalised peoples and a repositioning of these national literatures in a world literary context. This multi-authored volume explores the implications of such radical change through its focus on the novel and the short story, which model the crises in evolving narratives of nationhood and the reinvention of postcolonial identities. The constant interplay between national and regional specificity and transnational linkages is mirrored in the structure of this volume, where parallel sections on national literatures are situated within a broadly inclusive comparative framework. Shifting socio-political and cultural contexts and their effects on novels and novelists, together with shifts in literary genres (realism, modernism, the Gothic, postmodernism) are traced across these different regions. Attention is given not only to major authors but also to Indigenous and multicultural fiction, children's and young adult novels, and popular fiction. A significant feature of this volume is its extensive treatment of the novel in the South Pacific. Chapters on book publishing, critical reception, and literary histories for all four areas are included in this innovative presentation of a TransPacific postcolonial history of the novel.' (Publication summary)
Contents indexed selectively.
'Publication of Australian novels and discussion of this phenomenon have long been sites for the expression of wider tensions between national identity and overseas influence characteristic of postcolonial societies...' (Introduction)
'Movements to and from the white settler colonies were always active during the colonial and nationalist phases, commonly represented in terms of expatriation and exile and centred on England, though with some movement to the United States and Europe as well...' (Introduction)
'In Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, realism was the traditional mode for fiction throughout the first half of the twentieth century, harnessed to the call of establishing distinctive national identities...' (Introduction)
'One of the significant turns in postcolonial literatures since the latter end of the last century as been towards fiction that draws on historical materials, people and events, and uses them to reframe the politics of the past, and therefore the present...' (Introduction)
'What is it about modernism, that multivalent category riven with internal contradictions, that makes literary criticism continue to value it as a category?...' (Introduction)
'Postcolonial Gothic, like revisionist historical fiction, might be seen as another symptom of the reassessment of discourses of colonial history since the 1960s, though Gothic interrogations of national cultural myths have a darker more anxious quality, tending to focus on 'ghost stories' that haunt narratives of origin...' (Introduction)
'In the late 1980s, as the Canadian scholar Robert David Stacey remarks, 'talk of postmodernism was everywhere' (2010, xii). Yet postmodernism certainly took regional forms. Novelists in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific briefly and tentatively identified under the banner of the postmodern, while writers in Canada took up the cause and title of the postmodern more visibly and actively.'
'That each volume of the Oxford History of the Novel in English incorporates chapters on fiction for the young is itself a powerful comment on the emergence of children's literature as a component of the publishing industry and a field of scholarly research...' (Introduction)
'Focus on the Australianness of the novelists discussed in this chapter has occluded other perspectives on their achievements, and I propose to enlist them under a modernist flag...'(Introduction)
'Australia, like other white settler countries, has a long tradition of short story writing dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. In the days when Australian novels were mainly published in England, but a strong local newspaper and magazine culture was beginning to develop, many authors turned to the short story to achieve some income...' (Introduction)
'Emerging in the second half of the twentieth century from the traditions of the oldest living cultures on earth - the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia - the Indigenous Australian novel makes a unique contribution to the history of the novel in its contemporary phase...' (Introduction)
'The issue of multiculturalism in Australia has been marked by controversy, dividing both critics and the nation. This tension has been captured by and reflected in the reception of the strong but constantly evolving tradition of Australian multicultural writing...' (Introduction)
'The question of place has always been central to Australian fiction, both as a thematic element, but also as a critical or political preoccupation...' (Introduction)
'Literary journalism in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the South Pacific varies according to the populations, histories, and communications infrastructure of each location...' (Introduction)
'Literary history in colonial and postcolonial cultures is often based on a paradox that says much about their evolving sense of collective identity, but perhaps even more about the strains within it..' (Introduction)