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Issue Details: First known date: 2015... 2015 Contemporary Australian Literature : A World Not Yet Dead
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Australia has been seen as a land of both punishment and refuge. Australian literature has explored these controlling alternatives, and vividly rendered the landscape on which they transpire. Twentieth-century writers left Australia to see the world; now Australia’s distance no longer provides sanctuary. But today the global perspective has arrived with a vengeance.

'In Contemporary Australian Literature: A World Not Yet Dead, Nicholas Birns tells the story of how novelists, poets and critics, from Patrick White to Hannah Kent, from Alexis Wright to Christos Tsiolkas, responded to this condition. With rancour, concern and idealism, modern Australian literature conveys a tragic sense of the past yet an abiding vision of the way forward.

'Birns paints a vivid picture of a rich Australian literary voice – one not lost to the churning of global markets, but in fact given new life by it. Contrary to the despairing of the critics, Australian literary identity continues to flourish. And as Birns finds, it is not one thing, but many.' (Publication summary)

Notes

  • Contents

    I. Australian Literature: From Modern to Contemporary

    Australian Literature in a Time of Winners and Losers

    Christina Stead: Australian in Modernity

    Medium-Sized Mortals: Elizabeth Harrower and the Crisis of Late Modernity

    The Long and the Short of It: The Shape of Contemporary Australian Literature

    II. The Affects of Contemporary Australian Literature

    The Ludicrous Pageant: Challenging Consensus Through Rancour

    Failing to Be Separate: Race, Land, Concern

    Australia’s International Styles: The Idealisms of Architecture and Mobility

    III. Australian Literature in the World Market

    Australian Abroad: Peter Carey’s Inside Course

    History Made Present: Hannah Kent and Eleanor Catton

    IV. Afterword: Sly Change

  • Review : “In this remarkable, bold and fearless book, Nicholas Birns contests how literary cultures are read, how they are constituted and what they stand for … In examining the nature of the barriers between public and private utterance, and looking outside the absurdity of the rules of genre, Birns has produced a redemptive analysis that leaves hope for revivifying a world not yet dead.”

    — John Kinsella

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Against Slow Violence Marion Rankine , 2017 single work column
— Appears in: The Times Literary Supplement , 4 January 2017;

'Is Australian literature dead, dying, or at the very least, under threat? Given the subtitle of Nicholas Birns’s Contemporary Australian Literature: A world not yet dead, one could be forgiven for wondering. While Birns insists that he “does not mean to urge an elegiac perspective on contemporary Australia”, the “not yet” necessarily implies the event is inevitable – a disquieting prospect that laps, unseen, at the edges of this study.' (Introduction)

‘Deep Hanging Out’ : Native Species Images and Affective Labour 2017 single work
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 17 no. 1 2017;

'This paper investigates the affective labour done by, specifically, native species images in Australian poetry, using Judith Wright's bird poems, and various poems about kangaroos as example. It uses the anthropological term, "deep hanging out", borrowed from an article about fashion models, to extend the idea of affective labour, and to measure poems' attentions to birds and animals, and their relation to iconising as the work of nationalism. It is concerned with cultural capital, and Canberra, and the human empire.'  (Publication abstract)

[Review Essay] Contemporary Australian Literature: A World Not Yet Dead Megan Nash , 2017 single work essay review
— Appears in: Long Paddock , vol. 77 no. 1 2017;

'In the introduction to Contemporary Australian Literature, Nicholas Birns recounts how he first came to the field as a young student studying at Columbia in the mid 1980s, his enthusiasm sparked by immersion in the work of Patrick White and Les Murray. From here Birns branched out voraciously, seeking in Australian literature an ideal he thought had been lost to the States: ‘a horizon of hope, a milieu of greater generosity and charity, tolerance and flexibility’. 1 While he quickly realised what any more seasoned or cynical Australian critic would have told him, that this was largely ‘an illusion’, it is safe to say that Birns has not entirely lost his sense of hope when it comes to Australia and its literature (7). Throughout an eclectic research career – he has published on subjects as diverse as Early Modern literature, the history of literary theory, and the SpanishAmerican novel – Australian writing has remained an abiding academic interest, and he has served as the editor of Antipodes since 2001.' (Introduction)

Bonny Cassidy Reviews Contemporary Australian Literature : A World Not Yet Dead Bonny Cassidy , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Cordite Poetry Review , April no. 53.1 2016;

— Review of Contemporary Australian Literature : A World Not Yet Dead Nicholas Birns , 2015 single work criticism
A Literature of Pluralities : Wide-Ranging Ideas and Surprising Conjunctions Susan Lever , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , March no. 379 2016; (p. 34-35)

— Review of Contemporary Australian Literature : A World Not Yet Dead Nicholas Birns , 2015 single work criticism
'From time to time, Australian literature has been fortunate enough to attract the enthusiasm of international critics, from C. Hartley Grattan in the 1920s to Paul Giles, who compared Australian and American literature in his scholarly Antipodean America (2013). Nicholas Birns, a New York academic, tells us that he first encountered Australian writing back in the 1980s and has been a member of the American Association of Australasian Literary Studies since then, including a long period as editor of its journal, Antipodes. In 2014 he spent six months in Australia, reading widely and talking to writers and critics. His resulting study of contemporary Australian literature is more the record of a personal encounter with Australian writing than a scholarly reference book.' (34)
Writing Well Geordie Williamson , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 20-21 February 2016; (p. 18)

— Review of Contemporary Australian Literature : A World Not Yet Dead Nicholas Birns , 2015 single work criticism
A Literature of Pluralities : Wide-Ranging Ideas and Surprising Conjunctions Susan Lever , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , March no. 379 2016; (p. 34-35)

— Review of Contemporary Australian Literature : A World Not Yet Dead Nicholas Birns , 2015 single work criticism
'From time to time, Australian literature has been fortunate enough to attract the enthusiasm of international critics, from C. Hartley Grattan in the 1920s to Paul Giles, who compared Australian and American literature in his scholarly Antipodean America (2013). Nicholas Birns, a New York academic, tells us that he first encountered Australian writing back in the 1980s and has been a member of the American Association of Australasian Literary Studies since then, including a long period as editor of its journal, Antipodes. In 2014 he spent six months in Australia, reading widely and talking to writers and critics. His resulting study of contemporary Australian literature is more the record of a personal encounter with Australian writing than a scholarly reference book.' (34)
Bonny Cassidy Reviews Contemporary Australian Literature : A World Not Yet Dead Bonny Cassidy , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Cordite Poetry Review , April no. 53.1 2016;

— Review of Contemporary Australian Literature : A World Not Yet Dead Nicholas Birns , 2015 single work criticism
Review : Contemporary Australian Literature : A World Not yet Dead Jean-François Vernay , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Commonwealth Essays and Studies , Spring vol. 38 no. 2 2016; (p. 139-140)

— Review of Contemporary Australian Literature : A World Not Yet Dead Nicholas Birns , 2015 single work criticism
[Review Essay] Contemporary Australian Literature: A World Not Yet Dead Megan Nash , 2017 single work essay review
— Appears in: Long Paddock , vol. 77 no. 1 2017;

'In the introduction to Contemporary Australian Literature, Nicholas Birns recounts how he first came to the field as a young student studying at Columbia in the mid 1980s, his enthusiasm sparked by immersion in the work of Patrick White and Les Murray. From here Birns branched out voraciously, seeking in Australian literature an ideal he thought had been lost to the States: ‘a horizon of hope, a milieu of greater generosity and charity, tolerance and flexibility’. 1 While he quickly realised what any more seasoned or cynical Australian critic would have told him, that this was largely ‘an illusion’, it is safe to say that Birns has not entirely lost his sense of hope when it comes to Australia and its literature (7). Throughout an eclectic research career – he has published on subjects as diverse as Early Modern literature, the history of literary theory, and the SpanishAmerican novel – Australian writing has remained an abiding academic interest, and he has served as the editor of Antipodes since 2001.' (Introduction)

‘Deep Hanging Out’ : Native Species Images and Affective Labour 2017 single work
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 17 no. 1 2017;

'This paper investigates the affective labour done by, specifically, native species images in Australian poetry, using Judith Wright's bird poems, and various poems about kangaroos as example. It uses the anthropological term, "deep hanging out", borrowed from an article about fashion models, to extend the idea of affective labour, and to measure poems' attentions to birds and animals, and their relation to iconising as the work of nationalism. It is concerned with cultural capital, and Canberra, and the human empire.'  (Publication abstract)

Against Slow Violence Marion Rankine , 2017 single work column
— Appears in: The Times Literary Supplement , 4 January 2017;

'Is Australian literature dead, dying, or at the very least, under threat? Given the subtitle of Nicholas Birns’s Contemporary Australian Literature: A world not yet dead, one could be forgiven for wondering. While Birns insists that he “does not mean to urge an elegiac perspective on contemporary Australia”, the “not yet” necessarily implies the event is inevitable – a disquieting prospect that laps, unseen, at the edges of this study.' (Introduction)

Last amended 29 Mar 2017 10:24:40
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