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'The world is more mobile than it has ever been and in many different fields, most notably literary studies, it has led to a growing, and now well established interest in cultural and ethnic mobility, diaspora, transnational and cosmopolitan interactions. This rise in global mobility at the same time as state borders have become more hysterically protected, has interested post-colonial cultural critics for some time. The concept of the nation, or at least the nation state, has often been robustly critiqued because the post-colonial nation is marked by disappointment, instituted on the boundaries of the colonial state and doomed to continue its oppressive functions. Almost universally the nation is contrasted with "the transnational" and the global movement of peoples. It is held to be a fixed entity, a pole of attraction or repulsion orienting transnational relationships at state level. But if we distinguish the nation from the state we discover that mobility and border crossing are already features of the phenomenon we call nation.' (Author's introduction)
'A recurrent concern in late nineteenth - and early twentieth-century accounts of Australians in London is how "well" writers were doing. The common conception of the trip "Home" to Britain as a quest for cultural and professional success or recognition is reflected in the title of Angela Woollacott's feminist history, To Try Her Fortune in London, and it motivated many Australian writers, even a nationalist republican such as Henry Lawson, to regard London as the centre of literary culture, the best place in which to exercise their talents and ambitions. The emergence in these decades of a generation of "native-born" white Australian travellers who were related to but self-consciously different from the parent stock both in the colonies and in Britain created an anxious interest which fuelled ongoing discussions in newspapers and periodicals, prompted the creation of Anglo-Australian networks, clubs and publications in London, and supported many a columnist or special correspondent reporting back to Australia on the doings of their contemporaries in the great metropolis.' (Author's introduction, p. 107)
'At the turn of the last century, Australian literary and artistic hopefuls looked to London to further their careers, make good in the centre of the British Empire. Did they not have the example of Melba, the girl from the colonies who had become a diva, the most famous Australian in the world? A whole host of talents took the steamships north, actors, journalists, singers and famously Henry Lawson, for whom the trip proved a personal and artistic disaster.' (Author's introduction, p. 127)