AustLit logo
Issue Details: First known date: 2015... 2015 Transnationalism and National Literatures : The Australian Case
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Transnationalism should best be understood as a critical method, not as a description of inherent cultural forms, and so it is relatively easy to take a transnational approach to Australian or indeed any other kind of literature. Just as considerations of Medieval English literature have been enriched recently by a critical discourse that has elucidated points of crossover between Latin traditions and emerging vernacular languages, so Australian literature can productively be understood as both a nexus within, and a resistance to, larger orbits of globalisation. The key question here is not whether Australian literature itself is transnational, but what might be gained or lost in approaching the subject through such a critical matrix. Such an approach would of course cut against the assumptions implicit within the title ‘The Association for the Study of Australian Literature,’ a scholarly organisation based clearly upon a national paradigm, although in historical terms it is easy enough to understand the rationale behind its emergence. Writing in 1991, Sara Dowse attributed the founding of ASAL in 1978 to the attempt by a ‘band of stalwarts’ to resist ‘the domination of the British canon in key university English departments around the country’ (42), and in this sense the field of Australian literature has long been engaged professionally in an effort to carve out and consolidate space for itself from under the hegemonic shadow of English literature.1 The process here is very similar in kind to that which American literature underwent when it began to be established as a legitimate subject on university curricula during the first half of the twentieth century, with F.O. Matthiessen titling his famous 1941 book American Renaissance in a specific attempt to prove to his sceptical Harvard colleagues that his chosen five authors (Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Whitman and Melville) were as good as any produced by the Renaissance in England.' (Author's introduction)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon JASAL Australian Literature / World Literature : Borders, Skins, Mappings vol. 15 no. 3 2015 9264016 2015 periodical issue 2015
Last amended 19 Jan 2017 10:37:58
http://nla.gov.au/nla.arc-63067-20160406-1434-www.nla.gov.au/openpublish/index.php/jasal/article/view/4113/4759.html Transnationalism and National Literatures : The Australian Casesmall AustLit logo JASAL
X