'The criticism of Australian literature is in a perilous state right now.
'Publishers aren’t willing to keep the classics in print, let alone publish commentaries on them. Theory and Cultural Studies have taken a lot of the discipline’s energy, and changes to the nature of research funding have drastically reduced academic involvement in the public discussion of Australian literature. Since the Demidenko affair, when the association of Australian literature critics gave its highest award to a novel later challenged for its plagiarism and anti-Semitism, the critics themselves seem to have adopted a defensive posture, secure within academic discourse and suspicious of public debate.' (Introduction)