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Issue Details: First known date: 2020... vol. 35 no. 1 April 2020 of Australian Literary Studies est. 1963 Australian Literary Studies
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  • Only literary material within AustLit's scope individually indexed. Other material in this issue includes:

    Revaluing Memoir and Rebuilding Mothership in Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts by Ann Vickery


* Contents derived from the 2020 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Culture Wars and Corporatism : The Cultural Mission in Australian Non-fiction Book Publishing, 1958–2018, Mark Davis , single work criticism

'In this article I investigate four phases in Australian non-fiction publishing between the late 1950s and early 2000s, focused on works of current affairs, politics and popular history. Many such books, I argue, were published as part of a ‘cultural mission’ in Australian non-fiction book publishing, where an imperative for reform motivated many publishers to publish books they believed to be of greater than commercial importance. The paper first defines ‘cultural mission’ publishing. I then argue that such publishing has played a crucial role in Australian culture wars and struggles over national identity since the late 1950s and that these struggles have played out in four overlapping phases that reflect shifts in national debate and the commercial imperatives of book publishing. These consist of, first, a ‘renaissance’ phase from the late 1950s until roughly the late 1960s; second, an ‘insurrectionist’ phase from the late 1960s until the mid-1980s; third, a ‘reaction’ phase from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, and fourth a ‘corporatist’ phase that gathered pace in the late 1990s.' (Introduction)

'This Edition Howls to Heaven to Be Withdrawn' : The Palmer Abridgement of Joseph Furphy's Such Is Life., Roger Osborne , single work criticism

'When the abridged English edition of Joseph Furphy’s Such is Life appeared on the shelves of Australian booksellers in the middle of 1937, many of Australia’s most prominent cultural nationalists directed their outrage at the editor, Vance Palmer. First published in 1903 by the Bulletin Newspaper Company, Such is Life was out-of-print and largely neglected when the London publisher Jonathan Cape arranged for the abridgement. David Walker has shown that the abridgment was actually the work of literary critic Nettie Palmer, Vance Palmer’s wife, ably assisted by their daughter, Aileen, and Walker also outlines the most vociferous examples of cultural outrage, but what the Palmers actually did to the novel has not been examined in any detail. This paper builds on Walker’s research to look more closely at the circumstances of the abridgement, and what the Palmers actually did within a much longer history of composition, revision, and publication that culminated in Angus and Robertson’s unabridged edition published in 1944. Rather than rejecting the abridgement as an outrageous example of cultural destruction, I argue that it is, instead, an important event within the life of the work we know as Such is Life; a resuscitation, if you like, and, therefore, worthy of closer examination in both aesthetic and cultural terms. (Publication abstract)


White Apology and Apologia : Australian Novels of Reconciliation by Liliana Zavaglia, Lukas Klik , single work criticism

'From at least the early 1990s, when the Hawke Labor Government introduced reconciliation legislation into the Australian parliament, the concept of reconciliation has attracted criticism from both the political left and right. While some have complained of it as a predominantly white undertaking, others have seen it as a threat to the unity of the Australian nation-state. Following the election of John Howard in 1996, reconciliation met fierce resistance from the Federal Government itself, with Howard rejecting the recommendations of the 1997 Bringing Them Home report and refusing to apologise to Indigenous Australians for their ongoing sufferings at the hands of British colonialism. This is the political climate that provides the backdrop for the five novels, all written between 2002 and 2007, which Liliana Zavaglia examines in White Apology and Apologia: Australian Novels of Reconciliation (2016). In her book, Zavaglia deliberately chooses to focus exclusively on works by Anglo-Australian writers to examine how whiteness operates in contemporary Australia. Though she conceives of her primary texts as characteristic of a liberal whiteness that ‘worked to counter [the] political attempts [by the Liberal government] to silence the Indigenous rights and reconciliation movements’ (1), she argues that they, at the same time, articulate the ‘double movement of apology and apologia’ (3) typical of whiteness in Australia. Etymologically, ‘apology’ and ‘apologia’ are cognates of the Greek and Latin apologia, respectively. Despite their common roots, however, they differ significantly in terms of meaning, for while the first implies remorse, the latter, a later borrowing of the Latin form, indicates defence and justification. By identifying moments of both apology and apologia, Zavaglia suggests, the novels she discusses reveal the ‘discourse of liberal postcolonial whiteness [to be] a riven and conflicted site, driven in a hopeful quest to heal its relations with the other, even as its normative traces continue in the legacy bequeathed to it by its colonial foundations’ (21). What then follows is an elaborate investigation of this divided and disrupted nature of Australian whiteness, as it manifests itself in contemporary Anglo-Australian fiction.' (Publication abstract)

Review of Brigid Rooney’s Suburban Space, The Novel and Australian Modernity, Suzie Gibson , single work review
— Review of Suburban Space, the Novel and Australian Modernity Brigid Rooney , 2018 multi chapter work criticism ;

'The very word suburban often carries a pejorative meaning that aligns it with an unsightly urban sprawl. In reality, many modern suburban homes and streets are tarnished with a lack of individuality, presenting as part of commodified en masse living conditions where every home looks alike down to the ubiquitous and inhospitable roller door garage frontages. Much has been written about suburban spaces and the need to liberate one’s self from their insularity. A widely known example is Richard Yates’s famed Revolutionary Road (1961), chronicling a couple’s efforts to retrieve their marriage through daring plans to leave their leafy suburban life in Connecticut in order to make a break for Paris – a glittering world city that promises to replace sombre mediocrity with freedom and glamour.' (Publication abstract)

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Last amended 11 May 2020 12:10:44
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